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‘Importers May Shun Our Ports’, Obi Urges FG To End Customs FX Rates Inconsistency

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By Emmanuel Agaji

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has urged the Federal Government to end the inconsistency in duty charges by the Nigeria Customs Service.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday morning, Obi said the inconsistency in duty charges is affecting the general business atmosphere in the country.

He warned that if this situation is not corrected, importers in the country may resort to using ports of nearby countries, a situation which he noted will leave the Nigerian ports under-productive, and further deepen the economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue.

Obi said, “I wish to urgently call on the Federal Government of Nigeria to end the inconsistency in duty charges as it is affecting the general business atmosphere in the country.

“The federal government should stop the arbitrary and ever-increasing customs duties as it is now negatively impacting businesses and the cost of items, and this portends a huge danger to the economy.

“A situation where at the point of initiating importation, Form M and other documents related to importation are based on a particular rate of exchange, for example, N1000 to $1, being the prevailing exchange rate at the time which the importer of goods was used to calculate the entire process, from the import initiation to receipt of goods in his warehouse.

“Then suddenly when the goods arrive in Nigeria, and duties are calculated at different rates, say N1400 to $1, it becomes a serious business challenge that results in business losses. Worse still, it directly fuels the inflationary spike which is the basis of increasing cost of goods and living. Such arbitrary charges will obviously lead to further closure of businesses, and attendant job losses.

“This is because at the time of the initiation of the business, calculations, including duties, have been made based on the prevailing exchange rate, and the prevailing market prices.

“If this situation is not corrected, our importers may resort to using ports of nearby countries, a situation that will leave our ports under-productive, and further deepen our economy into a worse situation as a result of loss of revenue,” the post partly read.

The former Anambra State Governor also advised the government to show consistency in its policies as this will help with economic forecasting and business planning.

He said that businesses are dying, and manufacturers are shutting down because of the poor and inconsistent economic policies of the government.

“All efforts of the government should be directed at supporting businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector, to keep their businesses afloat and keep the economy growing, as the small business sector remains the most critical engine of economic growth.

“We cannot afford to target high customs revenues at the expense of the survival of local businesses, employment and reasonable cost of living,”

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UNILORIN lecturer produces biodiesel from eggshells

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A Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Elizabeth Odetoye, has produced biodiesel through the exploration of chicken eggshell-derived heterogeneous catalyst.

Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, Odetoye said that the feat is in line with the efforts of UNILORIN to develop homegrown technology that would enhance the country’s socio-economic progress.

She explained that the feat was accomplished through a “transesterification experiment.”

The don Said the yield showed that eggshells were affordable potential catalyst sources for biodiesel production.

The scholar said, “The utilisation of eggshells can add value to the poultry production process and minimise waste in the poultry industry.”

Odetoye pointed out that biodiesel had been considered one of the sustainable fuel alternatives.

She noted that the high production cost of biodiesel when juxtaposed with fossil fuel, remains one of the major drawbacks of biodiesel production.

The don defined biofuel as fuel made from biomass, saying, “Biofuel is synonymous with biocrude, biodiesel, bio-oil, biogas, bioethanol, Bio syngas and Bio slurry fuels.”

The Professor of Chemical Engineering added that Nigeria has abundant lignocellulosic biomass residues that are waiting to be explored in more environmentally friendly ways.

Odetoye noted that the open burning of biomass residues led to environmental pollution, especially during the dry season.

According to her, biomass waste pyrolysis is a potential means of converting waste to wealth and will create opportunities for skilled engineers and technicians.

She added that when the ensuing fuel is deployed for massive usage, it will make the nation’s physical environment cleaner and more conducive to healthy living.

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Sylvester Oromoni: Falana Faults Judgment, Says Coroner Ignored Evidence

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the recent ruling by Coroner Inquest sitting in Ogba Magistrate Court examining the death of a 12-year-old student of Dowen College, Lekki, Sylvester Junior Oromoni.

Falana said the Coroner disregarded further toxicological examination and withdrew initial recommendations for criminal negligence charges, despite glaring evidence and allegations of bullying within the school, including the discovery of a mysterious substance in Sylvester’s stomach.

Earlier, the Coroner Magistrate, Mikhail Kadiri, said Oromoni died as a result of failed treatment for his enlarged liver due to his parents and doctor’s negligence.

Kadiri said, “Based on the foregoing it is clear that the deceased health deteriorated in (doctor) PW 3’s care.

“PW 3, did not take proper care of the deceased, PW 3, completely abandoned the deceased for a period of more than 32 hours.

“The deceased’s death was an avoidable one but for the negligence of the parents and PW 3, they didn’t take him to the hospital until the day he died on November 30, 2021.

“The deceased went through an avoidable and excruciating pain and made to suffer needlessly,” Kadiri said.

Reacting to the judgement in a statement on Monday, Falana said the coroner ignored the evidence of the government pathologist that the “black substance” found in the stomach of the deceased was not subjected to toxicological examination.

“It is curious that the coroner ignored the evidence of the government pathologist that the “black substance” found in the stomach of the deceased was not subjected to toxicological examination. The allegation was that the deceased was forced to drink a poisonous substance.

“The Acting Director of Public Prosecution of Lagos State at the material time had recommended that some staff and students be prosecuted for criminal negligence over the bullying of students in the school.

Four days later, the Acting DPP turned around to say that there was no case to answer without any fresh evidence from the police investigators. The coroner ruled that the acting DPP has the power to withdraw her recommendations at any time!

“The doctors who testified stated that the deceased died of sepsis and that the sepsis could have been caused by excessive massaging of the leg of the deceased. The coroner conveniently overlooked the fact that the school doctor and the nurses massaged the leg of the deceased for two days before inviting his parents to take him home.

“In an attempt to exonerate Dowen College, the coroner was silent on the overwhelming evidence of the bullying of the deceased, his sister, and other students by the same set of students. In particular, the coroner discountenanced the evidence of a student who had testified that he saw the deceased beaten up and subjected to torture by a group of senior students.

“In spite of such uncontradicted evidence, the coroner said that the deceased died of natural cause. The coroner claimed that the negligence of the family doctor led to the death of the deceased but failed to refer him to the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria for appropriate sanctions,” said Falana.

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Woman accused of false testimony meets pastor, says no grudge against megachurch

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The woman who was accused of giving false testimony at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, Anyim Vera, has said she has no grudge against the church.

A video that went viral on Sunday showed the church’s Senior Pastor, Paul Enenche, questioning the credibility of the woman’s testimony at his church in Abuja.

The woman, who claimed to have graduated with a “Bsc in Law” from the National Open University of Nigeria, was interrupted by Enenche, who accused her of lying.

He told her she didn’t sound like a Law graduate, going by how she spoke. He also told her that there is nothing like a “Bsc in Law” and demanded that she leave the pulpit.

The video attracted mixed reactions, with many asking that the pastor apologise to the woman.

But Anyim, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday, said she had put the situation behind her.

She made the statement after meeting Enenche and his wife, Becky.

Sharing photos from the meeting, she wrote, “I want to inform the whole world that I just had a warm meeting with my spiritual father and mother, Dr Paul Enenche, and Dr Becky Enenche.

“I don’t have any grudge against the church or them. I remain committed to serving God as a member of Dunamis Church.

“I am thankful for the concern of the public.

“I have put the situation at my back, and I have moved forward, and I want everybody to do the same. Peace.”

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