Two explosions rock Kaduna military barracks.

Multiple explosions have rocked the Kaduna metropolis as bombs allegedly planted by members of the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram went off in two military formations and under the popular Kawo Flyover in the state capital.

The explosions which began at about 11.45am at the One Division of the Nigerian Army Headquarters, Kaduna left heavy casualties while the alleged suicide bomber was shot dead by soldiers.

By 12.15pm, there was another explosion under the Kawo Flyover located some metres away from the main gate to the One Division of the Nigerian Army.

Eye witnesses said the impact of the explosion destroyed part of the Administrative Building of the One Division of the Nigerian Army. Windows and doors were shattered.

Thirty minutes later another bomb exploded around the Nigerian Air Force Base located about 100 metres away from the bridge.

Eyewitnesses said unspecified number of persons may have died in the explosion near the gate of the Nigeria Airforce Base.

The multiple explosions caused commotion in several parts of the state capital as residents scampered for safety.

Armed soldiers have cordoned off the affected areas.

Armed Soldiers seized cameras belonging to the African Independent Television and Kaduna State Government-owned Capital TV from their reporters who attempted to take shots from the scenes of the blasts.

Also, the roads leading to the Sir Kashim Ibrahim Government House office of the state governor was also cordoned off.

Reacting to the attacks, the director of army public relations, Major General Raphael Isa confirmed the attack on the military barrack. He said in a press conference at Abuja that the attack at “the one division headquarters of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna may not be unconnected with the recent arrest of some members of Boko Haram.”

Mr Isa said that Tuesday’s attack will not deter the army from ensuring that lives and properties in the country are well secured.

He said that the army is working on new information that will lead to the arrest of more Boko Haram members and their sponsors.


Boko Haram Penciled Me For Assassination; Soyinka.

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has disclosed that he is one of the prominent Nigerians on the list of Boko Haram sect marked for assassination.

In a down-to-earth interview with The NEWS magazine which is circulated within outside Nigeria this week, Soyinka revealed that he was not only on the sect’s assassination list but very close to the top.

Soyinka said he has reported this to the security operatives in the country and they confirmed the information but he expressed disappointment that the security operatives have not taken action on the threat.

He said: “The reason for this programme (elimination) which I know is very much their third phase, is that those pushing this agenda know very well that this could be the last straw that will break the camel’s back.

And they would rather see this country broke up and possibly in an inferno than continue to accept the loss, even though temporal loss of power in this country. For these people, government is the only business around.”

The Nobel Laureate said he was not against dialogue but the Boko Haram sect did not make public their demands so that they could sit at a round table with government.

He added that dialogue does not require a group to constitute itself into a terror, stating that PRONACO which he joined during former President Obasanjo’s administration successful organised its conference, amended the constitution of Nigeria and presented the document to the government without violence.

Soyinka said he cannot be cowed into submission by the Boko Haram or any other violent group, stressing,

“I believe that one should not beg for existence. If the price of not coming to table is that you want to eliminate me, and you can do so, please do so. I am 77.

“Please, come to the debating table, but you will not persuade me simply because you have the capacity to blow me and my family up. You can simply go ahead, blow us up if you think that is the way you can do your conversation. But you will not bomb me to sit with you at table,” he insisted.

Soyinka said President Jonathan is underestimating the desperation of the forces behind the Boko Haram sect not considering the Islamic struggle in countries like Iraq where fundamentalist Islamic groups attack one another even in their sanctuary of worship and they retaliate with higher casualty figure.









BOKO HARAM : How Police Fooled Nigerians

Mohammed Abubakar, the acting inspector-general of police, may need to rid the force of subversive elements working with Boko Haram

Although Hafiz Ringim has been removed as the inspector general, IG, of police, he is still in the eye of the storm. More than a dozen heavily armed policemen positioned at strategic locations still guard his private residence in Kano. The entire NNDC Street where his house is located has been barricaded against vehicular traffic, only pedestrians are allowed to walk through.

Attempts by the magazine to interview him was unsuccessful last week when TELL visited his residence. Policemen manning the barricades told the magazine there was nobody inside the sprawling house. They could not tell the magazine where the former IG and his family had gone but sources close to him hinted that he had travelled to London with his family. It may be a wise decision after all to travel to a faraway country where Boko Haram may have a hard time tracking him.

But it is not only the former IG that is afraid of Boko Haram. Roads leading to most police stations in the North have been blocked in obvious response to attacks by the militant Islamic sect determined to wage war against security agencies and churches in the country. Motorists and pedestrians are forced to divert to other lanes. Motorists or motorcyclists who prove stubborn are arrested and detained until someone comes for their bail.

It is a telling irony that the police that are supposed to protect lives and property of Nigerians are now forced to concentrate its resources on self-protection. But fresh facts have emerged to show that the enemy may not just be in some distant location of Boko Haram hideout, but also among some unscrupulous officers of the police force.

A meeting of northern state governors called by Namadi Sambo, vice president, was reportedly scandalised by reports of police complicity in some of the attacks carried out by Boko Haram. The meeting which held on Thursday from 10:00 pm till about 2:00 am was told how police officers of some state commands connived with the militants.

In Kano for instance, where a recent deadly attack of the sect killed over 186 people, including members of the police, immigration and State Security Services, SSS, the police was said to have been privy to intelligence report about the attack. Rabiu Kwankwaso, governor of the state, allegedly told his colleagues and Sambo that the police were aware the attacks would take place but kept the information, and did not take precautionary measures that could have saved many lives. Instead, the police gave the impression that they were caught unawares.

The SSS, on the other hand, which was also a target of the attacks, was well prepared for the attack. Its snipers, stationed at strategic points within the premises of the organisation’s headquarters at Ginginyun, were able to take out the suicide bombers from Boko Haram before they could reach their target. The magazine also gathered that some of the officers living in the police barracks at the Bompai headquarters had relocated their families before the last attack took place. Although some said it was due to previous threats by Boko Haram to attack police formations in the state, the magazine reliably learnt that some officers of the command were said to have known in advance the date, time and how the attacks would take place, and had alerted some of their colleagues to relocate.

However, the top echelon of the police appeared not to have joined in the frenzied attempt to preserve themselves and their family members.  Rather, the magazine learnt that they decided to prepare officers and the other ranks for the anticipated battle.  That is why the authorities are said to be probing into the level of commitment of some police personnel. Ibrahim Idris, the state commissioner of police, and Mohammed Abubakar, the assistant inspector general, AIG, of police in charge of Zone 1, were either not in the know or chose to play dumb. The two were in their offices when the attackers struck. Abubakar was said to have sustained injuries while trying to escape, and was hospitalised after the attacks. His aides evacuated his family through the back exit of his Kano residence shortly before the gunmen arrived the house.

Investigations by the magazine in Kano showed that apart from civilians, the police suffered the largest casualties in the attack. Although Idris said 29 policemen died in the attack, investigations by the magazine showed that the police might have lost more than that. TELL gathered that many police personnel at the headquarters of the Kano State Command at Bompai were killed while trying to escape the gunfire.

An officer who survived the attack told the magazine: “We were caught off-guard, but some officers bravely faced the attackers including the commissioner of police who came out of his office with an automatic gun and was firing. But some officers tried to run away and jumped the fence to the other side. But they didn’t know that Boko Haram members were waiting to ambush them at the back. The station was surrounded.”

In Gombe where suspected members of the sect were recently reported to have burgled a police armoury, it was discovered that some police officers knew about the burglary. Ibrahim Dankwabo, governor of the state, while giving the security situation in his state, said the stolen weapons were found in the desert where they were buried. It was considered particularly strange that the site was identified by some police officers, allegedly without a tip off.

In some police commands in the North, many policemen who are from the South are seeking to relocate because some of their northern colleagues reportedly reveal the identities of those of them who succeed in arresting members of the militant group, thus endangering their lives.

Some of the governors are also said to have complained that some unscrupulous policemen were aggravating the security situation in the country by sponsoring attacks, knowing that would be blamed on Boko Haram.The reason for this is unclear. But sources within the police suspect that it may be the handiwork of those against the leadership of Ringim.

TELL was told that Ringim was not liked by many of his former colleagues. Many in the police force, including the rank and file, allegedly celebrated his exit.  Will the situation repeat itself under Mohammed Abubakar, the acting IG? That remains to be seen. Apart from the problem of lack of loyalty in the force, the governors also have some other challenges.

Most of them complained about being handicapped when it comes to controlling the police since it is a federal force, which takes it orders from the force headquarters in Abuja. Governor Kwankwaso in a recent interview with the magazine in Kano, said the police do not take directives from him, so he could not be blamed for the lapses of the force. Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau State had also in the past complained of similar handicap over the protracted crisis in his state.

Many governors have also complained that they may be the chief security officer of their states, but in reality, they do not have the power to control any of the security agencies. This is why some governors and other Nigerians have advocated the establishment of state police. Last week, Umaru Shinkafi, former director-general of the defunct National Security Organisation, NSO, added his voice to the growing list of advocates of state police.

In a statement he issued in Abuja, he said creation of state police had become a “sheer necessity” in view of unprecedented threats to national security posed by Boko Haram. He said it would enable state governors take charge of the affairs of their states in practical terms, adding that the level and impact of accountability and transparency in law enforcement and investigation would be “substantial and evident.” He said the current arrangement where the states are made to be responsible, in large part, for the operational logistics of the police without corresponding authority on the police was unfair.

But before the dream of state police becomes a reality, governors in the North are finding ways of policing their states. The magazine was reliably informed that the governors have decided on a number of measures to check the menace of Boko Haram.

One of these is to engage the cooperation of traditional rulers in monitoring their neighbourhoods. As moral custodians of the people, the traditional rulers would be asked to report anybody who wants to rent a house or who is a visitor in their neighbourhood. Thus, a potential tenant would first be reported to the authorities before being allocated an apartment.

Religious leaders would also be required to acquire preaching licences henceforth to enable the authorities monitor them and check seditious evangelism. This idea was first mooted by the Borno State government in 2009 after federal forces attacked the headquarters of Boko Haram in Maiduguri and destroyed the sect’s mosque. But the government of Ali Modu Sheriff, former governor of the state, lacked the political will to implement it. Perhaps, now that it is being proposed for the whole of northern region, the governors may find the courage to implement it.

A special court on terrorism is also being proposed for all states in the North to make prosecution of suspects and dispensation of justice faster. It is expected to prevent the current situation where suspects are taken to Abuja and held indefinitely without trial.

Attorneys general and commissioners for justice in the 19 northern states are expected to meet in Katsina in the coming weeks to brainstorm on laws that would make the measures realisable.

Analysts believe the success of the acting IG would be determined by his ability to stop the attacks by Boko Haram and improve the security situation in the country.  That way, he would put to rest the suspicion that the police is the weak link in the battle to fight crime in the country, particularly the Boko Haram insurgency.  Sources say the authorities are concerned that the feats recorded by the SSS in breaking the strength of the sect has repeatedly been eroded by the police.  So when Abu Qaqa, the spokesman of the sect, was allegedly  arrested by security forces in Maiduguri last Wednesday, just as some members of the sect were also arrested same day in Kano, the prayer was that the police would not let them off.

That is why part of the assignment of Abubakar would be to purge the force of the bad eggs that have given it a bad name.


Egypt Protesters Besiege Cairo Ministry

Protesters laid siege to Egypt’s Interior Ministry on Friday, pushing their protest against the military- led government into a second day in a show of anger triggered by the deaths of 74 people in the country’s worst soccer disaster.

One person died in Cairo from a shotgun pellet wound and two were killed in the city of Suez as police used live rounds to hold back crowds trying to break into a police station, witnesses and the ambulance authority said.

The demonstrations erupted following the deaths at a football stadium in Port Said. Most of those killed were crushed to death in a stampede but protesters hold the military-led authorities responsible.

Several thousand protesters threw rocks towards the ministry building in central Cairo through the night. Security forces fired tear gas but the protesters continually regrouped.

Of the few vehicles in the usually congested downtown area, most were ambulances that ferried casualties from the clashes.By Friday morning, a hard core of demonstrators had heaved aside a concrete barrier blocking a main road near the ministry to take closer aim at the building. A Reuters witness heard firing and found gun pellets on the ground.

“We will stay until we get our rights. Did you see what happened in Port Said?” said 22-year-old Abu Hanafy, who arrived from work on Thursday evening and decided to join the protest.

Revolutionary youth groups were calling for a mass weekend protest named the “Friday of Anger”. By late morning, a few hundred people had joined protesters who slept overnight in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square.

Ambulances had to intervene overnight to extract riot police whose truck took a wrong turn into a street full of protesters.Protesters surrounded the vehicle for at least 45 minutes, rocking it while the police were inside. Some of the demonstrators then formed a human corridor to help them escape.

Close to 400 people have been hurt in the confrontations that erupted late on Thursday, the health ministry said, many of them suffering from inhaling tear gas fired by riot police who the Interior Ministry said were protecting the building.

Rocks thrown by protesters were strewn across streets that two months ago witnessed violent clashes between police and activists who see the Interior Ministry as an unreformed vestige of former president Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

“The crimes committed against the revolutionary forces will not stop the revolution or scare the revolutionaries,” said a pamphlet printed in the name of the Ultras.

In Suez, witnesses said fighting broke out at a local police station in the early hours of Friday. “We received two corpses of protesters shot dead by live ammunition,” said a doctor at a morgue where the bodies were kept.

A witness said: “Protesters are trying to break into the Suez police station and police are now firing live ammunition.”The soccer stadium deaths have heaped new criticism on the military council, which has governed Egypt since Mubarak stepped down a year ago in the face of mass protests. Critics regard them as part of his administration and an obstacle to change.

The army leadership, in turn, has presented itself as the guardian of the “January 25 revolution”. It has promised to hand power to an elected president by the end of June.INTERIOR MINISTER BLAMES FANS

At least 1,000 people were injured in the soccer violence when fans invaded the pitch after local team al-Masry beat Cairo-based Al Ahli, the most successful club in Africa.

Hundreds of al-Masry supporters surged across the pitch to the visitors’ end and panicked Ahli fans dashed for the exit. But the steel doors were bolted shut and dozens were crushed to death in the stampede, witnesses said.

The cause of the violence has been the focus of intense speculation. Some believe it was triggered by unknown provocateurs working for remnants of the Mubarak administration who are seeking to sabotage the transition to democracy.Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said the fans started it.

“The events started with provocations between the Ahli and Masry crowds, then insults, until it ended up with those sorrowful events,” he told the Egyptian TV station CBC during a telephone interview.

Egypt Convicts Top Arab Actor For ‘Defaming Islam

The Arab world’s most famous actor, Adel Imam, has been sentenced to three months in jail for “defaming Islam” in several roles on stage and screen, the Egyptian comic said on Thursday.

A Cairo court sentenced Imam, a UN goodwill ambassador described as the Arab world’s Charlie Chaplin, in absentia to three months in jail with hard labour, after being sued by Asran Mansur, a lawyer with Islamist ties.

“I will appeal the ruling,” Imam told AFP.“Some people seeking fame filed a suit against me over works I have done which they consider insulting to Islam, and this is of course not true,” he said.

The 71-year-old celebrity has a long history of legal tangles with Islamists who regard the actor’s work as blasphemous.In the latest case, Imam said the works criticised are the 1994 movie “Al-Irhabi” (The Terrorist), in which he portrays an Islamic fundamentalist and the play “Al-Zaeem” (The Leader), a comedy in which Imam pokes fun at the region’s autocratic leaders.

“All the works in which I have starred went through the censors. Had they been found to be defamatory, the censors would have banned them,” Imam said.
He has acted in more than 100 films, including the award-winning “The Yacoubian Building” from Alaa al-Aswani’s novel, and 10 plays praised by the Arab public for their irreverence towards both the powerful and the religious.

In a 1998 TV debate, called “Star on a Hot Tin Roof”, Imam squared off with three Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement whose members now hold a strong majority in Egypt’s parliament.

Since 2000, Imam has served as a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency, alongside likes of film star Angelina Jolie and Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

“In the course of his rich career, he has mixed humour with sadness to portray ordinary people who are victims of injustice and poverty,” the agency says in a biography on its website.

“For all these reasons, Imam became a symbol for people promoting tolerance and human rights in the Arab world,” it said.

NATO Mulls Paying For Afghan Forces After 2014

NATO defense ministers on Friday tackled the controversial issue of how to pay for Afghanistan’s expanding security forces after they assume responsibility for the war in 2014.

Since Afghanistan — one of the world’s poorest nations — cannot foot the estimated $6 billion (euro4.6 billion) annual bill, NATO nations will have to pay the bulk of it. But austerity measures and budgetary cuts caused by the financial crisis in the United States and Europe are making it difficult to raise the money.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said ministers would consider two critical questions: “What should be the long term size of the Afghan security forces and how are we going to share the cost of supporting that between different members of the international community. Those are discussions we have started here and we will continue at Chicago,” he said

The two-day meeting in Brussels of ministers from NATO’s 28 nations and 22 other countries taking part in the war in Afghanistan is meant to pave the way for a NATO summit in May in Chicago.

The Afghan army and police are scheduled to grow to more than 350,000 members by 2014. But some have proposed that the force can be safely cut in order to reduce its cost.

“A reasonable number would be 230,000,” French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said.The Taliban insurgents are estimated to have about 20,000 armed men.

A related unresolved question that also will be taken up in Chicago is the number of U.S. and other foreign troops that might remain behind and what missions they would be assigned.

The debate on costs came after NATO allies agreed broadly on Thursday to step back from the lead combat role in Afghanistan and let local forces take their place as early as next year, a shortened timetable that startled officials and members of the U.S. Congress.

Longuet said Paris would start drawing down its 3,600-strong contingent in March, and expects the withdrawal to be completed by mid-2013.U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta caused a stir when he said Wednesday that he foresaw American and NATO forces switching from a combat role to a support role by mid- to late-2013. He said this was a natural transition in line with the NATO goal, announced in November 2010, of having every Afghan province placed in government control by the end of 2014.

Until that remark, however, it was widely assumed that NATO forces would remain in the lead until the end of 2014, when most foreign forces are scheduled to be withdrawn.

Panetta said he explained to his NATO counterparts that he hopes Afghan forces will be ready to lead the combat nationwide sometime in 2013, with international troops shifting to a support role after a decade of inconclusive combat. That means Afghans would bear the main burden of offensive action, with U.S. and other foreign troops assisting, he said.

His remark prompted some Republicans in Washington to complain that the Obama administration was unwisely telegraphing its intentions to the Taliban, and it led to a cascade of confusing statements seeking to illuminate Panetta’s meaning.

Asked further about the matter after Thursday’s NATO meetings, Panetta said U.S. forces, once in a support role, would have to remain “combat ready,” prepared to defend themselves but focused on enabling the Afghans to carry the brunt of combat. He also noted that U.S. special operations forces would remain in Afghanistan to go after certain terrorist targets.

Aregbesola Donates ICT Centre to His Former School; Why I named It After Tinubu.

Osun state Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola on Saturday gave the reason for naming the ICT centre he built in his alma matter, Anglican Grammar School, Arigidi-Akoko, Ondo State was named after the former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu because he has become the Nigerian face of the rule of law.

In a speech titled “A Great Future beckons”, while commissioning the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu ICT Centre in Arigidi-Akoko, Ondo State on Saturday, Governor Aregbesola stated that apart from God and his parents, the national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) remained the next greatest influence on him.

According to him, Tinubu “is the Nigerian face of the rule of law, true federalism, freedom, liberty and progress”.
He stressed that Tinubu had committed his entire life to the struggle for these great ideals which qualified him to earn such recognition in the journey of his life.

His words: “In my own assessment, nobody deserves the honour of having it named after him than Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I must let this distinguished audience know that after the Almighty God and my parents, the next greatest influence in my life is Asiwaju”.

Speaking further, Aregbesola described the former lagos Governor as his mentor, role model, leader, motivator and benefactor just as he described him as a dogged, courageous, irrepressible and indefatigable fighter for democracy and human rights.

He said further of his former boss that “this is the cause for which he has committed his life and for which we all support him. Need I add that he is a great philanthropist who gave of himself and substance liberally without consideration for ethnic, religious and class affiliation? It is an honour richly deserved”.

Justifying the project, Governor Aregbesola averred that every citizen including farmers now require the use of computers particularly in soil analysis and sundry needs.

He described the computer centre project as a statement on the direction of the future saying “the computer has actually become the centre of the universe. Everything today is about the computer, whichever way it is presented as a desktop, laptop, tablet and handheld device”.

He observed that it was interesting these days that artisans like mechanics need the computer to diagnose problems with cars and find solutions to them while architects and draughtsmen used it to design precision houses.

Computers, he added, are now deployed for soil testing and analysis, planning, operating certain machineries, tracking farm animals, diagnosing diseases in plants and animals, confirming bank balances, requisitioning farm inputs such as seedlings, fertilisers and agro-chemicals and coordinating harvest.

The use of the computer is virtually limitless, depending on the imaginative capacity of the user, he observed further.
Governor Aregbesola told the gathering further that employers of labour now demand computer literacy as a condition for employment, irrespective of other competencies while those without it were greatly disadvantaged.

He therefore, enjoined teachers and students of the school to make the best use of the facility , submitting that computer was a tool, just like the pen, which every adult must know how to use for documentation, for expression and for life.

The centre, he stressed further, was a preparation ground for every student that would pass through the school to face the challenges of a digital future.

In the State of Osun, Aregbesola announced that his administration was concluding arrangements to provide computer tablets tagged ‘Opon Imo’ to all senior secondary schools students in the state.

These tablets, he told the gathering, would contain lecture notes, all the text books for all the subjects of study, past questions and answers for the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations and tutorials.

The “Opon Imo”, he assured had bridged the gap of carrying books in sacks, their wear and tear and subsequent replacement and also provides ready learning tools and aid.

The school, he stated, prepared him for the ideological pursuit which had typified his struggles and person over the years noting that as students, they were taught how to live honestly under the fear of God in all undertakings.

PDP Government is the Worst in the History of Nigeria says El Rufai

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  Alhaji Nasir el-Rufai has taken a hard knock on the present PDP-led Federal government, describing the party’s  regimes since the enthronement of democracy in the country as disastrous.

“PDP regimes in the past twelve years of our democratic system is not only disastrous, but completely against the wishes and aspirations of the entire Nigerians”, said el-Rufai .

The former FCT Minister told newsmen in an interview at the Yola International Airport Friday,  that the present security challenges facing the nation is brought about by the ineptitude, lack of focus, injustice , corruption and lack of dedication to the plights of ordinary Nigerians.

el-Rufai , who is at the head of the CPC National headquarters to Saturday governorship election in Adamawa state said that PDP governments at both the federal and state levels have lost complete grip of managing and controlling the socio-economic, security and all other sectors of the nation , thereby throwing Nigeria into a state of helplessness and confusion.

Asked why he is descending so hard on the a  party that he was  a strong member of untill his recent defection to the CPC, el-Rufai said that the PDP during his era was quite different from what is obtainable now, adding that as the then  Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, he demolished  the houses of the National chairman of the ruling party and so many retired Generals of the Nigerian Armed forces.

“Do you think any Minister can take such a harsh decision now?, he quipped, saying that PDP in 2007 is quite different from what we have now.

On ways out of the present security challenges facing the country,el-Rufai stated that there can be no peace without justice, stressing that the foundation for security is to have justice and accountability, alleging that a situation whereby officials divert public funds for their personal use and refuse to do what should be done to better the lots of the ordinary  Nigerians is always greeted with insecurity and other social vices.

The former FCT Minister maintained that the biggest problem of the present administration is failure to take responsibility for what should be its primary role which is security of its citizens.

Subsidy Probe: FG approved zero VAT on imported petrol; Total Oil Overpaid.

The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mrs. Ifueko Omogui-Okauru has disclosed that the tax collection agency does not charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on the Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and DPK (kerosene) imported into the country; meaning importers of billions of litres of petrol got waivers from government.

Omogui-Okauru, who stated  this at the on-going investigative hearing of the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee on the management of the subsidy regime also disclosed that a revised version of the Value Added Tax (VAT) would soon be presented to the National Assembly.

She explained that it was a policy of the federal government not to charge VAT on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and kerosene imported into the country.

According to her, this was deliberate to save Nigerians from paying heavily for the products.

“Government has been very sensitive on the issue of tax on petroleum products which is a major source of revenue,” she said.

The tax boss noted that though PMS and kerosene were taxed in other countries, the Nigerian government was been sympathetic to Nigerians. She promised to forward documents authorising the agency not to charge VAT on petroleum products.

Meanwhile, the managing director of Total Oil Nigeria Plc, Mr. Francois Bussagol, who also appeared before the ad hoc committee yesterday disclosed that the company was paid N11 billion in 2010 for the importation of 251 million litres of petrol. According to him, Total was paid N16 billion in 2011 for importing 211 million of litres.

He explained that the company did not collect any payment on kerosene which it sold at N50 per litre to the public.

Responding to the revelation by the FIRS chairman, the ad hoc committee chairman, Hon. Farouk Lawan (PDP-Kano), directed the FIRS to make available to the committee, all the papers of authorizing oil companies that benefited from the waiver.

He also asked for the details of income and other taxes paid by the companies involved in importation of petroleum products.

Similarly, the committee had requested the Total Oil Nigeria Plc to forward to it, letters of credit, and certificate of discharge and bill of laden from 2006 to date.

Boko Haram Attacks Kogi, Kills 4; Bank, Police Station, Burnt

Men suspected to be members of the Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram struck early this morning in Ajaokuta, Kogi State, North Central Nigeria, killing four persons. A police station and a first generation bank were burnt by the group.

Though a source claimed that it was a robbery attack, the incident had the trade mark of Boko Haram terrorist organisation.

It was gathered from an eyewitness that a pastor who heard the booming of guns at about 6.45 a.m. ran out of his house through the back door.

He successfully escaped with his wife and members of his family thinking it was an armed robbery attack.

However, a few minutes later, residents of Abuja Estate and those around Church Layout where most of the churches in Ajaokuta are located, realised it was a Boko Haram attack.

Victims of the attack have been identified as Dr. Ahmed, a medical personnel at Ajaokuta Steel Company Medical Centre and Mr. Balogun, a driver of the truck conveying fire service men to the scene of the attack.

It was also learnt that as fire fighters approached the razed police station to put out the fire, their driver, Balogun, was shot dead by the attackers.

Two other fire fighters were reportedly killed and their efforts to put out the fire frustrated.

Some other persons were said to have also been attacked.

The attack has paralysed economic activities in Ajaokuta.

Offices, banks and shops were not opened this morning while school children who reported in their various schools were turned back.

A resident of Ajaokuta who attempted to report the attack to the Police Area Commander in the town said on phone this morning that the police boss’ phone could not be reached just as the lines of other police officers went dead.

As at press time, there was no official response from the police or government officials on the attack.

The Boko Haram sect has not spoken officially or claimed responsibility.

In another incident, at least six persons were killed by Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, Northeast Nigeria.

The attack Thursday took place at Kabar Maila Ward in Shehuri North, Maiduguri.

A statement issued by the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, spokesman, Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed, indicates that there were several bomb explosions in the early hours of Thursday in Maiduguri, while some unexploded bombs were defused by the JTF with no casualty recorded.

The release stated: “In Kabar Maila in Shehuri North, six persons were killed. Preliminary investigations reveal that the six deceased persons were suspected to have been slaughtered by persons suspected to be their fellow sect members.”

The release further states: “the incident occurred in the area where 11 sect members had an encounter with the JTF troops last weekend. The killing may have been as a result of division among sect members.”

It states that JTF will continue to be proactive in dealing with Boko Haram and advised the people to be security conscious.

The group has claimed responsibility for strings of deadly attacks across northern Nigerian cities such as Bauchi, Maiduguri, Kano, Suleja, Abuja, etc.

Reports say the group has killed over 900 people since it began its attacks, with the deadliest being that of 20 January 2012 in Kano, Northwest Nigeria during which over 185 people died.

It also bombed the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja on 26 August last year, killing 23 people.

The group again struck on Christmas Day in Madalla on the outskirts Abuja, killing over 40 worshippers at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, controversy is still raging over the arrest of its spokesman, Abul Qaqa.

The group says the man arrested is not their spokesman but a member identified as Abu Dardaa who went to negotiate with government following government’s request for dialogue with the group.

Osun Budgets 2012: Overhead Cost Policies of the State.

It is to be noted that the overhead cost is the only real variable component of the recurrent expenditure. It relates to the day-to-day administration expenses of the agencies of Government. What will eventually be released to Agencies of Government as running cost and fund for other charges in the 2012 fiscal year, at any given time, depend on the revenue available to Government after meeting all mandatory commitments such as salaries and allowances of public officers, pension and gratuity, public debt repayment, etc.

Consequently, the following policies regarding overhead cost have been approved for continuation in the 2011 fiscal year:

(i) The Overhead Costs admitted into the Budget are only guides. Actual release of administrative running costs and other overhead expenditures shall depend on the material time or fund availability;

(ii) all agencies of Government shall meet their recurrent expenditure needs from their monthly running costs and the fund for other charges. The Governor will not entertain any fund requests that can reasonably be met from the regular releases. The monthly returns of the utilization of the previous monthly running costs and fund for other charges shall be made to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Budget before new ones may be released;

(iii) release of fund based on approvals in file as an instrument of Budget Implementation shall be sparingly used only for issues that cannot be deferred for the monthly meetings of the Fund Allocation Committee;

(iv) no Agency should incur overhead cost on credit and where such arises, the Accounting Officer of the erring agency will be sanctioned.