Police Arrest Senator Omo-Agege Over Mace Theft

Men of the Nigeria Police arrested Senator Ovie Omo-Agege immediately after the plenary.

The lawmaker was suspended by the Senate for 90 days last week. He, however, attended the plenary today.

The Senate had accused him of leading the armed men who stormed the chamber and snatched the mace while plenary was on.

After the plenary, policemen ushered Omo-Agege from the door of the chamber into a waiting pickup van.

Ribery Extends Bayern Contract

Veteran winger Franck Ribery, 35, has signed a year’s contract extension to stay at Bayern Munich for the 2018/19 season, according to German magazine Kicker on Thursday.

Kicker claim Ribery has been told to fight for his place with young execeptional wingers Kingsley Coman, 21, and Serge Gnabry, the 22-year-old who will return from a loan spell at Hoffenheim, set to be prefered next season.

Bayern reportedly claimed to have received offers for Ribery from clubs in China, Qatar and Turkey.

His new contract until June 2019 is a reward for long service at the German champions. He joined from Marseille in 2007 and has made 380 appearances, scoring 117 goals and delivering 176 assists.

Ribery played in Bayern’s goalless draw at home to Sevilla on Wednesday when they reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the seventh time in nine seasons.

Ribery has played in each campaign and was a key figure when Bayern won the 2013 treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

He has won the Bundesliga eight times, the German Cup on five occasions and the Club World Cup in 2013.

Ronaldo: I Was Surprised Juventus Protested A Correct Penalty Decision

Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed that referee Michael Oliver was correct to have awarded his team a late penalty against Juventus in their Champions League quarter-final second leg clash at the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Zinedine Zidane’s men saw their 3-0 first leg advantage cancelled out as Juventus repaid their three goals deficit almost forcing the game into extra time.

However, the English referee awarded Real a penalty after Lucas Vazquez was brought down in stoppage time by Medhi Benatia, a penalty which many regarded as controversial.

Juventus goalkeeper Giannluigi Buffon was then sent off for remonstrating with the English referee, which led to protests from his teammates.

Ronaldo then  stepped up and duly slotted the penalty past substitute goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with his team moving into the semi-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

“I don’t understand the protest by Juventus,” Ronaldo told reporters after the game.

“Lucas was pushed from behind and if the penalty was given, it’s a goal.

“We suffered and this will help us to learn. The game should serve as a lesson. Nothing is handed to you in football, you have to fight until the end.

“Real Madrid could have scored more goals today, but Juventus and Buffon were great.”

Real Madrid  join Liverpool, Roma and Bayern Munich in the last-four draw, which takes place in Nyon on Friday.

EFCC, FIRS To Monitor Tax Evader

The Federal Inland Revenue Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have pledged to strengthen their partnership to monitor individuals and organisations who have refused to remit their tax.

The partnership, according to a statement by the Head, Communications and Servicom Department, FIRS, Wahab Gbadamosi, has led to the recovery of the sum of N29bn Withholding Tax from banks and other financial institutions in the country between November 2017 and March 2018.

The collaboration, the statement noted, would beam searchlights on defaulting taxpayers who also refused to embrace the Federal Government’s Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to offset their tax liabilities.

At a meeting on Tuesday during a courtesy visit to the EFCC in Abuja, the Executive Chairman, FIRS, Babatunde Fowler, said Nigeria, just like other countries across the world, was looking inwards to lift the economy and would not tolerate tax defaulters.

Fowler stated, “There are some issues of non-remittance of Withholding Tax, Value Added Tax and Personal Income Tax. The EFCC has shown support before. When tax defaulters are invited to your office, we see results.

“I don’t know how you do it but we see result. Recently, two banks came forward to comply on their own. I think that they must have heard words. We want joint assistance with the EFCC to make sure that all tax defaulters get the lawful treatment.

“I want to let every taxable person in Nigeria know that we are ready to deploy all powers at our disposal to ensure that every tax defaulter is punished according to the law.”

The Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said the agency was ready to do more to bring culprits to book.

New Turkish Coach Tayfun Appointment Delights Heartland Players

The appointment of Turkish coach Mehmet Tayfun has been welcomed by the Heartland players and theclub’s new technical adviser and hope his arrival will bolster their survival in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

The Naze Millionaires have not had it easy and are currently 18th in the NPFL table having picked 17 points from 16 games.

The Owerri club, who recently directed their technical crew led by Ramson Madu to step aside and appointed Ezekiel Onyegbule as acting head coach, confirmed Tayfun’s appointment on Wednesday.

“I think it is a bold move by the management of the club. Though we don’t know much about our new technical adviser, we have strong belief that things will get better for us under him,” a key member of the team told Completesportsnigeria.com.

“It’s now a fresh start for us and I know everyone will be eager to impress the new coach which will bring out the best in all of us.”

Another player who also spoke with CSN on the condition of anonymity also expressed joy on the Turk’s arrival, praising the club’s hierarchy for the move.

“I’m happy with the decision of the club. I can tell you categorically that majority of my teammates are happy too,” he told CSN.

“Heartland is a big club and we shouldn’t be fighting relegation. We will give our all under the new coach and hope everything will work out well under him.”

Tayfun has a UEFA Professional Coaching License and his arrival was made possible by the existing technical  partnership arrangement between Heartland and Turkish side Boluspur FC which was signed last year.

The 56- year-old was previously part of Boluspor’s coaching crew.

His first game in charge of Heartland will be Sunday’s Nigeria Professional Football League match day 16 clash against El-Kanemi Warriors of Maiduguri.

Naira Drops To 363/Dollar

The naira recorded marginal weakness at the parallel market on Wednesday, one week after the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee retained the Monetary Policy Rate at 14 per cent.

The local unit dropped particularly from 362 to 363 per dollar, on Tuesday.

On the official market, the naira was quoted at around 305.60, supported by the CBN. It traded at 360/per dollar at the Investors and Exporters’ window.

The local unit had closed at 362/dollar at the parallel market on Monday, the same level it had remained for a long time.

The CBN has also been mopping up naira liquidity to curb speculation on the currency.

The MPC had last week maintained its tight policy on interest rates to support the currency.

The committee kept the benchmark interest rates on hold at 14 per cent, a level it has retained for over a year to curb inflation and prop up the naira.

The CBN has continued to sustain its intervention in the foreign exchange market.

The regulator last week injected the sum of $339.89m into the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales.

The bank’s Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, noted that the continued interventions were in line with the pledge made by the Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to sustain market liquidity in order to boost production and trade.

According to Okorafor, the feedback from the wholesale and retail segments of the Nigerian forex markets shows that customers are satisfied with their level of access to foreign exchange.

VAIDS Extended To June 30 By Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday gave the approval for the extension of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme to June 30, 2018.

According to a statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the short extension after the original March 31 deadline expired was based on pleadings from professional bodies and individual taxpayers.

Adesina quoted the President as saying that no further time elongation would be approved after June 30.

He further quoted Buhari as explaining that the new deadline was given based on the conviction of the Ministry of Finance that the overall objective to increase compliance would be attained and additional revenue would accrue to the government.

The presidential spokesman indicated that a fresh Executive Order would be made to give legal backing to the new timeline.

He quoted the President as saying, “For a nation of people, who are competitive and driven, it is not a pride that we are the lowest performer in tax to GDP, not just in Africa, but in the world. Nigeria’s growth needs are such that every Nigerian must do their duty to their nation, neighbour and themselves.

“Hiding monies overseas, evading taxes by manipulation, and other unwholesome practices have never developed a country, and for Nigeria to attain her true potential, these must stop.”

Buhari urged Nigerian companies and individuals to join the government in the rebuilding mission “and do the right thing by taking this window of extension to regularise.”

He added that the right thing might not be convenient or comfortable, “but in the long run, we will all have a nation we can be proud of.”

The President further urged tax authorities to use the extension window to perfect plans to prosecute those who failed to regularise their tax status.

VAIDS is one of the key policies being used by the Federal Government to reposition the Nigerian economy and correct inherited underdevelopment.

The country has one of the lowest tax collection rates in the world at just six per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.

“This was partially a function of the reliance on oil that saw us abandon the historical revenue collection systems and switch to a culture of sharing resources, rather than generating them,” the President added.

Buhari had last year launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and VAIDS as a tax amnesty programme as the first in the series of reforms that would transform the country’s tax system and provide sustainable and predictable funding for all tiers of government.

The statement added, “Tax revenues will ensure that public infrastructure is provided and public services are funded to improve the lives of the people.

“Taxes redistribute wealth from those who have more to those who have less, and VAIDS is one of the windows to achieve such.”

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Mr. Babatunde Fowler, had disclosed earlier last month that N20bn had so far been realised from 262 taxpayers who declared their assets under VAIDS.

Before the extension of the deadline, VAIDS offered a grace period of nine months from July 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 for tax defaulters to voluntarily pay back to the government what they owed.

In exchange for full and honest declaration, the government promised to waive penalties that should have been levied and the interest that should have been paid on overdue taxes.

Also, those who declare their tax obligations honestly will not be subjected to any investigation or tax audit after the new grace period.

A tax expert and economic analyst have described the extension of the tax amnesty scheme as a good development.

The Principal Partner, ROAC, a leading accounting and tax advisory firm, Mr. Gbenga Akinyemi, said the extension was a win-win situation for both the tax authority and taxpayers.

“It will afford those who for one reason or the other failed to meet the deadline to escape the payment of penalty. The good thing again is that for companies whose financial year ends on December 31, the deadline for submission of annual tax returns is June 30. It will also help the government to bring more people into the tax net,” he stated.

The Managing Director, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, advised the Federal Government never to entertain a further extension of the deadline, pointing out that citizens might continue to take things for granted if it was extended again.

Chuwku said, “The extension provides an opportunity for those who have not complied to comply. There is also a need for enforcement, otherwise you may be dealing with recalcitrant people.

“The point is that if we keep extending, people may keep deferring it. I feel the government should have started sanctioning defaulters. But since the government in its wisdom has done it, I advise that there should not be a further extension. Because sanctions are hardly imposed in our clime, people take things for granted.”

Gold Coast 2018: Nigeria Advances In Table Tennis Doubles

Nigeria’s Quadri Aruna and Segun Toriola on Thursday both made it into the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles table tennis event at the  Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Toriola shrugged off his knee injury that made him retire in the second set in the men’s singles quarter-finals earlier on Thursday to team up with Aruna to victory.

The duo knocked out the pair of Choong Hoong Javen and Leong Chee Feng from Malaysia 3-1 in the men’s doubles round of 16 at the Oxenford Studios.

They won the encounter 7-11, 11-9, 8-11, 5-11.

Aruna and Toriola will challenge the pair of pang Yew En Koen and Poh Shao Feng Ethan from Singapore on Friday in the quarter-finals 2 of the table tennis event.

Inflation Rate Drops To 13.34% In March —NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics on Thursday said the country’s Consumer Price Index which measures inflation went up  by 13.34 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2018.

The bureau said in their report that  the 13.34 per cent rate for March is 0.99 percentage points less than the 14.33 per cent recorded in February.

The report said this is the fourteenth consecutive months since January 2017 that the country would be experiencing the drop in inflation.

It reads in part, “The Consumer Price Index which measures inflation increased by 13.34 per cent (year-on-year) in March 2018.

“This fourteenth consecutive disinflation since January 2017 is 0.99 percent points less than the rate recorded in February 2018 (14.33) per cent.

“The Composite Food Index rose by 16.08 per cent (year on year) in March 2018, down from the rate recorded in February (17.59 percent).”

Super Eagles Rank Better, Argentina, Croatia, Iceland Drop In Fifa Ranking

The Super Eagles of Nigeria moved up the ranking five table from 52nd to 47th position in the latest FIFA world ranking released on Thursday.

The ranking was published on FIFA’s official website.

The Eagles’ friendly games against Poland and Serbia was a pivotal reason for their rise in the rankings. They secured a 1-0 win against Poland away from home before losing 2-0 to Serbia in London.

In Africa, the Super Eagles are now in the sixth position.

There was no improvement for the Eagles’ 2018 Group D World Cup opponents as they all dropped places.

Argentina dropped one spot to fifth, Croatia dropped three places to 18th and Iceland dropped to 22nd.

For the Eagles’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Group E opponents, only South Africa moved up as Libya and Seychelles dropped.

South Africa rose four places to 72, while Libya and Seychelles dropped to 100th and 194th respectively.

In the top 10 ranked countries, World Cup holders Germany remain number one, with Brazil in second, Belgium are third, Portugal are in fourth and Argentina fifth.

In sixth position are Switzerland, France are in seventh, Spain in eight, Chile in ninth and Poland in 10th.

The next Coca Cola FIFA World Ranking will be released on May 17, 2018.

13 African Athlete Go Missing At The Commonwealth

Five more African athletes may have disappeared from the Commonwealth Games, organisers said Thursday, after eight competitors from Cameroon were suspected of fleeing a day earlier.

Gold Coast organisers confirmed reports that athletes from Rwanda and Uganda were said to have been missing while they were also looking to clarify the whereabouts of two squash players from Sierra Leone.

“We’re obviously looking at it very carefully,” Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive David Grevemberg told reporters.

“We have a service to people who have legitimate visas to be in this country,” he added.

“Until it becomes a true issue and somebody has outstayed their visa, or have formally applied for asylum, we just need to continue to monitor the situations.

“The focus now is to support teams in trying to track down the athletes who are missing.”

More than 100 athletes overstayed their visas at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Athlete visas for the Commonwealth Games expire on May 15, Grevemberg said.

Eight athletes from conflict-hit Cameroon — one third of the central African country’s 24-strong team — were said to be missing from the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday, sparking an Australian Border Force manhunt.

As the search continues for Cameroon’s five boxers and three weightlifters, Grevemberg insisted the welfare of the athletes came first.

“We obviously have been in close contact with Cameroon officials,” he said.

“We share their concern regarding obviously the safety, welfare, whereabouts of these athletes.”

Cameroon team manager Victor Agbor Nso told local media he had reported the matter to police on Wednesday.

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned that athletes would be forcibly removed from the country if they attempted to overstay their visas.

“They aren’t going to game the system,” he told local radio. “Australian Border Force officers will find these people (and) they’ll be held in immigration detention until they can be deported.”