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Afenifere, Agbekoya, Okurounmu, Others Rebuke Akiolu For Snubbing Ooni Of Ife

Image result for ooni and oba of lagos

Ooni of Ife and Oba of Lagos 

Femi Atoyebi, Samuel Awoyinfa, Friday Olokor and Femi Makinde

The President-General of the Agbekoya Farmers Association in Nigeria, Chief Aremu Okikiola, has called on the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, to respect the Yoruba traditional hierarchy instead of debasing it.

Oba Akiolu snubbed Oba Ogunwusi at a public in Lagos on Tuesday when they latter attempted to greet him.

The Agbekoya chief, who spoke through the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Chief Olatunji Bamidele, said it was wrong for traditional leaders to disrespect themselves in the public, saying that Agbekoya, as a Yoruba socio-cultural group, would not support any traditional ruler that displayed immature attitude in public.

He said, “Any mature traditional ruler should not fight in the public. They should find a way of solving whatever the issue is in private. The Ooni and the Alaafin are the most respected Yoruba obas. Akiolu should not disrespect the tradition.”

“Akiolu should not be rude to that extent because he is only an Oba of Lagos. Agbekoya will not support any traditional ruler that is rude to the Ooni.”

Speaking on behalf of the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Director, Media and Public Affairs to the monarch, Adeola Oloko, told our correspondent that the Olubadan revered the Ooni and Akiolu, saying that he was making contact with the two monarchs to find a solution to the issue.

“I can tell you that the Olubadan had been making contacts with the Ooni and the Oba of Lagos, whom he respects mostly, with the view to mediating in the issue. He will talk to the press as soon as there is information to pass across. As an elder, he is making the contact,” said Oloko.

A chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural association, Afenifere, Chief Femi Okunrounmu, said Oba Akiolu’s action was an embarrassment to the Yoruba race.

He said the action portrayed the Yoruba as an unorganised set of people before the world.

He noted that it was unfortunate that some monarchs in Yoruba land did not seek the interest of their subjects.

He pointed that Yoruba elders would talk to Oba Akiolu on what he termed unbecoming behaviour.

Also, the Yoruba Youth Socio-Cultural Association has condemned Oba Akiolu for snubbing the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, publicly at a function.

The youths, through their coordinator in Osun State, Mr. Adeboye Oluwabusoye, said the attitude of Oba Akiolu was wrong and it was not expected of any king in Yoruba land to disrespect the Ooni.

But the Ooni has said he will not stop according Oba Akiolu with respect despite snubbing him at a social function on Tuesday.

The foremost traditional ruler in Yoruba land said he was unperturbed by Akiolu’s action, adding that the action would not make him to lose focus of his resolve to ensure unity among traditional rulers in the land.

Oba Ogunwusi spoke to our correspondent through the Director Media and Public Affairs of Ooni’s Palace, Moses Olafare, on Wednesday.

The monarch said, “Nobody should castigate anybody for doing what he did because of the position he held and because of his age.” The Ooni will not stop according his colleagues and every category of people the respect they deserved.  (Punchng.com)

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I Am Not Harassing Your Family, Buhari Tells Jonathan |The Republican News

Buhari-Jonathan

Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan

Olalekan Adetayo and Godwin Isenyo

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, said he was not harassing the family of former President Goodluck Jonathan or any other persons in the current administration’s ongoing fight against corruption as claimed by Jonathan.

He said anybody, who did not have skeleton in his or her cupboard, had nothing to fear about the ongoing anti-graft war.

Buhari said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, while reacting to an allegation credited to Jonathan in a book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, that his family was being harassed by the present government.

The former President was also quoted to have disagreed with the style being used by the present administration in its anti-graft fight.

But Buhari said given the scale of revelations and recovery of funds so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it was obvious that corruption had “an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

While stating that he was resolute in the fight, the President said time would give the verdict on whose style of fighting corruption ultimately yielded the most dividends.

He said his belief was that national interest must always be placed above personal interest, no matter who was involved.

The statement read in part, “We make bold to state unequivocally that President Buhari harasses nobody; he merely allows the law to take its course.

“For the umpteenth time, we say that anybody, without skeleton in his or her cupboard, has nothing to fear about the bared fangs of the anti-corruption initiative. Fear belongs only to those who have abused trust while in office.

“Anybody who feels aggrieved is free to approach the courts to seek redress or justice. President Buhari believes in the rule of law and that is why his campaign against corruption is anchored on that plank.

“With regard to President Buhari’s anti-graft style, which the former President deprecates, given the scale of revelations and recoveries so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it is obvious that corruption had an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

Meanwhile, Senator Abubakar Girei said Jonathan should not blame anybody for his electoral defeat in the 2015 presidential election.

Girei said the former President was the architect of his failure in the election which ushered in Buhari as President in 2015.

Girei represented Adamawa Central Senatorial zone between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

The former Senator, who is now a member of the All Progressives Congress, said in a statement in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the former President was defeated because “he imposed Boko Haram insurgency, Niger Delta militancy, armed banditry and all forms of insecurity to remain in power.”

According to him, it is uncharitable for Jonathan to blame his defeat on local and international leaders and the former Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

He also berated a former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar, for saying the Federal Government disrespected the former President.

Gerei added, “The likes of Col. Dangiwa Umar and their paymasters cannot save him (Jonathan) and his cohort from paying for their sins sooner than later.”            (Punchng.com)

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Monarch Flees As Fulani Herdsmen Behead Man In Delta State

Fulaniherdsman

Fulani Herdsman

Ovie Okpare, Warri

Palpable tension has enveloped Urhuoka-Abraka community in Ethiope-East Local Government Area of Delta State following the killing of a member of the community by armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.

Sources said the incident occurred on Monday around Ovre-Abraka bush where indigenes of the community farm.

It was gathered that the young man, a welder, who was later identified as Solomon Ejor, was killed while trying to rescue his mother, Mrs Maria Ejor, who had gone to Ovre to farm, and was held hostage by the herdsmen in her farm.

On getting to the place, a confrontation ensued, which led to the woman’s freedom, but Solomon was unlucky as he was shot before being beheaded by the suspected herdsmen.

It was gathered that over 50 local farmers had been killed in the scuffle since the struggle began even as the state government and security operatives were accused of playing politics with the rampaging killing in the area.

Irked by the continued killing and inaction of the traditional ruler, angry indigenes retrieved the mutilated body of the victim and went to the palace of the Ovie of Oruarivie-Abraka to dump the corpse and register their grievances.

Upon sighting the angry mob with the corpse of the slain welder, the monarch was learnt to have reportedly fled the palace through the back gate to an unknown destination probably to avoid seeing the corpse which is a taboo for a monarch in Urhobo.

The protesters invaded the palace destroying cars and air conditioners with a threat to torch the palace less for the timely intervention of a detachment of army personnel.

The President General of the community, Dr. Tedwins Emudainohwo, whose car was also destroyed in the mayhem said, “They brought the corpse to the palace with the intention of desecrating the palace coupled with the fact that it is a taboo for the Ovie to see a corpse.

“The victim, in company with his younger brother and two friends, had gone to the bush to rescue their mother who had gone to the farm and was trapped in the bush, following shootings by herdsmen in the area.”

“Their mother had gone to her farm on Monday to work. While there, she started hearing gunshots inside the bush and had to take cover at a spot. In her hiding position, she was able to see some Fulani herdsmen walking past as they continued shooting. After the situation had calmed down, she called her children and told them that she was trapped inside the bush.”     (Punchng.com)

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We Will Find, Prosecute Multinationals Involved In Illicit Financial Deals – EFCC

EFCCboss

Acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has unveiled plans to go after multinationals involved in illicit financial flows out of Nigeria.

The Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this in an interview with journalists on the sideline of a conference on the use of beneficial ownership information and the recovery of assets in Africa.

The event, which was hosted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Abuja, was attended by representatives of over 30 African countries to discuss the issue of illicit financial flows, tax evasion and corruption on the continent.

According to the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the continent is estimated to be losing more than $50bn annually to illicit financial flows stemming from bribery, corruption, transfer pricing, tax evasion and money laundering.

This figure represents more than the continent receives in official development assistance everywhere and is increasing at an annual rate of 9.4 per cent, which is twice as fast as the global average gross national income.

Magu described the development as worrisome, adding that a major cause of illicit financial flows was corruption.

He said if the menace of corruption could be addressed, the rate of tax evasion and illicit flow of funds would be reduced.

This, he noted, would free more resources for the government to implement development projects in the face of dwindling revenue.

He said the commission had opened discussions with the FIRS to set up a special unit that would deal with tax fraud, tax evasion and other related offences, particularly in multinational firms.

Magu stated, “We are already discussing that and we are going to upgrade our cooperation with them, and we are going to set up a unit that will be in charge of tax fraud and tax evasion and related offences.

“We want to see that we work on these very seriously and we intend to use that to see how we can bring succour to the economy.

“Very soon, we will set up this unit because we have just discussed with the FIRS chairman; and so, we will sit down and organise a special training so that we can collaborate very well and chase out corruption from this country and send it back to where it is coming from. If there is no corruption, there won’t be illicit financial flows.”

The EFCC boss said the agency would also take its anti-corruption war to the universities.

Magu added, “We are talking with the universities and we are looking at programmes and trying to launch a similar thing like the ‘Women Against Corruption’.

“The student union leaders visited me and this was their complaint, and we have told them we are going to do this to protect their future. So, it is very necessary that the students join us in the fight against corruption.”

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who spoke at the event, said the issue of illicit financial flows had cost the continent huge losses in revenue.

She said while the government had put in place measures to fight corrupt practices, it would require the assistance of other countries to tackle the issue of tax evasion and illicit financial flows.                (Punchng.com)

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U.S. Highlights Sanctions, Diplomacy As North Korea Threat Escalates

 

Nick Wadhams, Tony Capaccio and Steven T. Dennis
Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., talks with reporters after an all Senators briefing on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Washington, Wednesday, April, 26, 2017.© AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., talks with reporters after an all Senators briefing on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Washington…

 

U.S. national security leaders emphasized economic sanctions and diplomacy to persuade North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, even as the Pentagon ramps up its military presence in the region with an aircraft carrier battle group and submarine.

“North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is an urgent national security threat and top foreign policy priority,” according to a joint statement Wednesday by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. “The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal.”

The statement followed warnings by the Pentagon’s top commander in the Pacific that Pyongyang is making steady progress toward developing ballistic missiles that can hit the U.S. Kim Jong Un’s regime is testing those missiles and nuclear devices with growing frequency and aggressiveness, Admiral Harry Harris said in testimony Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee.

“The words and actions of North Korea threaten the U.S. homeland and that of our allies in South Korea and Japan,” Harris said in his prepared testimony. The U.S. “must be prepared to fight” on short notice, he said.

North Korea is high on the Trump administration’s agenda this week and has been a key topic of discussion between the president and Chinese leader Xi Jinping this month. Following Harris’s testimony on Wednesday, President Donald Trump stopped by a White House briefing to which the entire Senate was invited. While Trump has urged China to help rein in the North Korean regime, he’s vowed the U.S. will stop the country’s weapons program with or without Beijing’s help.

Lawmakers’ Reaction

“The military is obviously planning for a number of contingencies, a number of options, as well they should, running the full range from a more minimal military action to a far more significant military action,” Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said after the White House briefing. “It is the hope of the administration, the hope of Congress, that military action does not prove necessary, that economic and diplomatic pressure will cause a change in behavior of the regime.”

Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware called the White House briefing “sobering,” adding that the North Korean threat “should be the top priority of the administration.”

Senator Cory Gardner, a Colorado Republican, told reporters a military strike should be well down the administration’s list of alternatives.

“There’re so many options that we need to be taking that are a long ways away from a strike,” he said. Gardner said diplomatic steps should include “secondary sanctions on Chinese individuals, entities and companies that are doing business with the North Korean regime.”

The U.S. is working with allies in Asia to further isolate North Korea economically and block imports used in its nuclear program, according to a Trump administration official who briefed reporters Wednesday. Many components of military equipment come from outside the country, and even the tires on vehicles in North Korea’s military parades are imported, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Tillerson is heading to New York on Friday to chair a session on North Korea at the United Nations Security Council.

While the joint statement emphasized diplomacy, the U.S. continued to move a battle group led by an aircraft carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, toward the region. At the same time, the USS Michigan, a nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying 154 Tomahawks, arrived at the South Korean port of Busan this week. The move was was described by the Pentagon, which typically doesn’t discuss submarine movements, as part of a routine patrol.

Pressed by lawmakers, Admiral Harris wouldn’t discuss publicly scenarios for a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, though he did address the risk that U.S. action could be met by a response that would kill many South Koreans, Japanese and U.S. troops in the region.

“A lot more Koreans and Japanese and Americans die” if Kim’s regime reaches its nuclear arms goals, Harris said.

China has also sought to calm tensions on the Korean Peninsula by emphasizing diplomacy. Speaking by phone with Trump on Monday, Xi urged all parties to avoid actions that might make the situation worse, and to work within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

The Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party-affiliated newspaper known for its nationalist views, said North Korea stands to lose the most in a conflict.

“The game of chicken between Washington and Pyongyang has come to a breaking point,” the newspaper wrote in an editorial published Tuesday.

Amid the heightened tensions, U.S. forces have begun installing a more advanced system for tracking and intercepting ballistic missiles than South Korea’s current network of shorter-range Patriot batteries can hit. The Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, known as Thaad, should be operational by the end of the year, according to South Korea’s defense ministry. American forces are working with Korea to complete the deployment “as soon as feasible,” the U.S. Defense Department said in an emailed statement.

South Korean Election

The introduction of Thaad has angered China, which is concerned it could be used to spy on its own facilities. The anti-missile system also has become a campaign issue ahead of South Korea’s May 9 presidential election, with frontrunner Moon Jae-in denouncing the expedited deployment while his closest rival Ahn Cheol-soo says it must take place.

In his testimony, Harris also endorsed Trump administration statements that the U.S. goal isn’t to topple Kim’s regime. “We want to bring Kim Jong Un to his senses, not to his knees,” he said.

“We’re all concerned that the decades of self-imposed isolation of North Korean leaders, and especially the cruel, erratic behavior of its current leader, make confrontation potentially more likely,” Representative Mac Thornberry, the Texas Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee, said in opening Wednesday’s hearing. “We must increase our military presence and capability in the region.”

(Bloomberg)

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How Trump’s Tax Plan Could Affect You

 

Jonnelle Marte

The White House unveiled a broad outline Wednesday for a dramatically simpler tax code that could lead to lower tax bills for many ordinary taxpayers but also eliminate many of the tax deductions that Americans currently claim.

President Trump’s plan, which offered few details, could cut taxes for some middle- and high-income families and for parents, and also reduce taxes for businesses large and small. The plan would also substantially increase the standard deduction, which reduces an individual’s taxable income, and would eliminate some common tax deductions such as those used to offset medical costs or state and local taxes.

Without more details, it is difficult to know exactly how some taxpayers will fare. The White House will need to work with Congress on the final plan, which could look very different if lawmakers push back against some of the proposed changes.

Here is a look at some of the major changes that could affect you:

Larger standard deduction would mean lower tax bills. The plan calls for doubling the standard deduction that people can claim on their income tax returns, which would lower tax bills for some taxpayers and lead to a much simpler tax filing process for others. Under the proposal, married couples filing jointly would not owe income taxes on the first $24,000 of income (up from $12,600).

U.S. National Economic Director Gary Cohn© L and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin unveil the Trump administration’s tax reform proposal in the… U.S. National Economic Director Gary Cohn

 

Gary Cohn, the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, told reporters Wednesday that the higher standard deduction means that fewer people will have to file itemized deductions to reduce their taxable income, which could lead to a simpler tax return.

Most tax deductions are going away. All individual tax deductions would be eliminated with the exception of deductions related to homeownership and charitable contributions, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the briefing Wednesday.

Under that scenario, taxpayers would no longer be able to write off expenses now commonly deducted, such as state and local property taxes and medical expenses. The White House will have to work with Congress to finalize the details of the plan, and it’s not clear if lawmakers will be willing to eliminate some of the deductions that may be popular in their home states.

Fewer tax brackets. The proposal would reduce seven tax brackets to three brackets with tax rates at 10 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Currently, tax brackets range from 10 percent to 39.6 percent, based on income. High-earning taxpayers could see an immediate tax break on their income taxes, while low-income families may not feel much of a change, said Alan Cole, an economist with the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank. However, the proposal did not disclose the income ranges for the new tax brackets.

Bigger tax breaks for parents. The plan calls for increasing the tax benefits available to families paying for child and dependent-care costs, such as day care, but few details were provided. Trump is considering raising the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, a tax break that allows parents to reduce their tax bills by up to $2,100, based on how much they spend on child care.

The approach would be different from Trump’s earlier plan, which was criticized as an approach that would mostly benefit high-earning taxpayers. That plan would have allowed parents to deduct the cost of child care from their income, which would not have provided much tax savings to lower-income families that do not owe much in income taxes.

Reduced taxes on the wealthy. The plan calls for eliminating two key taxes that traditionally affect higher earners: the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax. The alternative minimum tax was enacted to ensure high income earners would pay a minimum tax even if they were claiming numerous tax breaks. But the tax now affects about 5 million middle- and high-income taxpayers, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

The estate tax, which is also known as the death tax, affects people who inherit wealth or businesses worth more than about $5.5 million. Some people struggle to pay tax bills owed on money and assets they inherit from family members, Cohn said.

Lower tax rate for business owners. Some small and family-run businesses are subject to individual income tax rates, which can be as high as 39.6 percent. Under the president’s plan, they would pay a lower rate of 15 percent. Mnuchin said the administration would include provisions to keep wealthy business owners of large companies from taking advantage of the lower rate, but he did not offer details.              (The Washington Post)

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Barrack Obama’s $400,000 Speech To Wall Street Sparks Liberal Blowback

 

Matthew Rozsa
Former President Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing, Monday, April 24, 2017, at the University of Chicago in Chicago. It's the former president's first public event of his post-presidential life in the place where he started his political career.© AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Former President Barack Obama hosts a conversation on civic engagement and community organizing, Monday, April 24, 2017, at the University of Chicago in Chicago. It’s the former president’s first public… 

The former leader of the free world is suddenly facing intense criticism.

Barack Obama has accepted a $400,000 speaking fee for a Wall Street conference that will be hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, according to a report by Fox Business.

This is almost twice as much as the speaking fees Hillary Clinton charged for three speeches to Goldman Sachs after she left the State Department. She later came under immense criticism during her campaign for receiving so much money to speak to Wall Street firms. According to the Washington Post, her husband and former president Bill Clinton “earned more than $16.3 million for 72 speeches” in 2012 —  averaging around $226,000 per speech. CNN also reported he was once paid $750,000 for a speech to telecom firm Ericsson.

Obama will address a health care conference scheduled for September and the 44th president will reportedly be the keynote luncheon speaker for one day of the event. Although Obama has already signed the contract, the early reports indicate that Cantor Fitzgerald is still in the process of coordinating the details with the former president. Obama can still reportedly pull out of the deal if there are scheduling conflicts or if he finds himself on the receiving end of negative publicity.

And Obama’s already received boatloads of negative publicity.

“Obama’s $400,000 Wall Street speaking fee will undermine everything he believes in,” wrote Vox’s Matthew Yglesias this week. “To fight the rising tide of populism, mainstream leaders need to raise their ethical game,” he argued.

“The more that Wall Street firms give out-of-office presidents and big-name politicians these paydays, the more they become the norm,” Aaron Blake of The Washington Post wrote. “Other presidents will know that such payments are on the table, and it risks coloring their decisions with regard to Wall Street and special interests.” A point Vox’s Yglesias agreed with:

Indeed, to not take the money might be a problem for someone in Obama’s position. It would set a precedent.

Obama would be suggesting that for an economically comfortable high-ranking former government official to be out there doing paid speaking gigs would be corrupt, sleazy, or both. He’d be looking down his nose at the other corrupt, sleazy former high-ranking government officials and making enemies.

Which is exactly why he should have turned down the gig.

The election in France earlier this week shows that the triumph of populist demagogues is far from inevitable. But to beat it, mainstream politicians and institutions need to shape up — not just with better policies, but with the kind of self-sacrificing spirit and moral leadership that successful movements require.

Blake also pointed out that bans on lobbying by former government employees are usually written because “it became so normal for former aides to cash in afterward and basically use their government jobs for a future payday on behalf of well-heeled special interests. The prospect of future wealth became a given.”

Of course, the criticism continued on Twitter:

It’s so heartwarming that @barackobama is willing to speak to Wall Street for only a $400,000 hourly fee. A true man of the people.

— Gad Saad (@GadSaad) April 26, 2017

Almost as though Obama explained himself why giving $$$ speeches to banksters is bad https://t.co/IT5RnyawaT

— Jonathan Cohn (@JonathanCohn) April 26, 2017

Hey @BarackObama if you are unable to give your Wall Street speech, I am available to attend. I’m willing to give a 50% discount. DM details

— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) April 26, 2017

This is what Obama said literally the same day his $400K Wall Street speech was revealed. The, er, um … audacity pic.twitter.com/P3hTwOPZ6j

— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) April 25, 2017

But not everyone thinks Obama’s legacy is on the line with a couple of big post-presidency paydays:

I fail to see how @BarackObama accepting one high-paying speaking gig “undermines everything he believes in.” https://t.co/GVJrEj9uQL

— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) April 25, 2017

Salon

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