- We’ll go After Multinationals Involved in Illicit Financial Flows
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.
UK Government Has Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
The United Kingdom on Wednesday Approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
British government on Wednesday became the first country to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use, according to the UK government.
The vaccine will be rolled out from next week and the first dose could be administered as early as December 7th, stated people familiar with the matter.
Last week, the UK government announced it had ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 and appointed Nadhim Zahawi, the current junior business minister, as the minister responsible for the deployment of the vaccines.
British government on Wednesday morning said, “The Government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use”
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week.”
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, revealed that the programme would commence early next week.
“It is very good news,” Hancock said.
Zabarmari Massacre: Buhari to Provide More Resources for the Nigerian Military
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to provide more resources to the military in the aftermath of the Zabarmari massacre.
On Saturday, Boko Haram killed 43 people with around 70 people still missing in Zabarmari, a village in Borno State.
Reacting to the massacre, Buhari, through his official Twitter handle @MBuhari said “Nothing is more important than ensuring the security of lives and property of Nigerians. Everything is secondary when security is at stake. I will ensure that more resources are made available to the military and other security agencies to prosecute the war against terrorism.
“As we mourn all the lives lost in Zabarmari, the Armed Forces have been given the marching order to take the fight to the insurgents, not on a one-off, but on a continuous basis, until we root out the terrorists.
“We will intensify our cooperation with neighbouring countries on bilateral and multilateral levels, to ensure that there is no hiding place for the terrorists.
“As I noted earlier, the massacre by Boko Haram in Zabarmari is nothing short of senseless, barbaric, gruesome and cowardly. It reinforces our resolve to root out all forms of insurgency and insecurity not just in Borno but everywhere across Nigeria.”
Boko Haram Kills Rice Farmers in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria
Rice farmers were killed on Saturday morning in the Northeast Nigeria by suspected Islamist militants, Boko Haram, according to a Reuters Report.
The report also noted that 30 of the people killed were beheaded while over a dozen others were still missing.
However, resident of the Zambarmari Village where the attacks took place said a total of 70 people were feared dead.
Another resident and Amnesty International were quoted as saying at least 10 women were among those missing.
In another statement by Edward Kallon, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, it was armed men on motorcycles that led the brutal attack on civilians harvesting their fields.
“Armed men on motorcycles led a brutal attack on civilian men and women who were harvesting their fields,” Edward Kallon stated.
“At least 110 civilians were ruthlessly killed and many others were wounded in this attack,” he added, noting that several women are believed to have been kidnapped.
“The incident is the most violent direct attack against innocent civilians this year. I call for the perpetrators of this heinous and senseless act to be brought to justice,” Kallon said.
On Sunday, Governor Babaganan Umara Zulum of Borno State, who was at the burial told journalists that at least 70 farmers were killed on Saturday.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to recruit more Civilian Joint Task Force members, Soldiers and civil defence fighters to protect farmers in the region.
He added that people are facing desperate choices.
“In one side, they stay at home they may be killed by hunger and starvation, on the other, they go out to their farmlands and risk getting killed by the insurgents,” he said.
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