Press zooms in on military airstrikes that killed 150 terrorists, others

The report of the airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force Super Tucano fighter jets that killed 150 Boko Haram terrorists…

The report of the airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force Super Tucano fighter jets that killed 150 Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest of Borno State in northern Nigeria dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Super Tucano fighter jets have killed 150 Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest of Borno State.

The terrorists were reportedly neutralised on Wednesday the Mantari hideouts in Bama Local Council.

A counter-insurgency expert in the Lake Chad region, Zagazola Makama, disclosed in Maiduguri, yesterday, that the military airstrikes targeted terrorists while they were meeting in the forest.

A military source in Maiduguri also said that Abbah Tukur, a Khaid of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), was among the terrorists neutralised in the Mantari-Maimusari-Bakura axis in the local council.

Makama said: “Bakura Jega has led some fighters on 40 motorcycles on the instructions of Amir Fiye, Ali Ngulde, to the Lake Chad of Kernoa.

“The instructions were to seek more support from the Boko Haram leader, Abou Oumaymah, to scale up its fighting capabilities to fight ISWAP terrorists in the region.”

He added that the fighters were received by the leadership in Mantari, after they returned with weapons, motorcycles and rustled livestock.

According to him, when the military struck the hideouts, no fewer than 150 terrorists were neutralised.

The newspaper says that notwithstanding the hike in prices of goods and foodstuff in the market, many Lagosians said they are happy to be alive to celebrate Christmas on Sunday.

Many of them, who spoke to The Guardian are grateful to God for their lives and urged government to intervene and reduce high cost of living in the country.

Findings by The Guardian showed that cost of foodstuff has increased to between 100 to 200 per cent.

For instance, a bag of rice, which used to sell at N35,000 four months ago, now goes for between N45,000 or N48,000.

Also, the price of a kilogramme of chicken, rose from N1,500 as of March to about N4,500.

Traders claimed that hike in prices was caused by high transportation due to fuel scarcity and increase in cost of feeds.

A buyer at Boundary market, Ajegunle, Madam Evelyn Obaike said: “The price of foodstuff has gone up just a few days to Christmas. A bottle of oil that sold for N700, is being sold at N1,000. Not only has the price of garri gone up, other items have also gone up.

A livestock seller, Mr. Austin Charles said: “A chicken is sold between N8,000 and N10,000. The price of turkey last year was N25,000, but it has increased to N50,000

“The increase in price is due to an increase in the price of chicken feed and other things, like drugs. So, the price cannot be the same as last year’s”

The Punch reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday defended the cash withdrawal limits policy, insisting that it was not targeted at vulnerable people.

Defending the policy while appearing before the House of Representatives, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Aisha Ahmad, declared that Nigeria could operate a cashless economy, noting that about 94 per cent of cash withdrawals through personal accounts were less than the revised N500,000 per week, while 82 per cent of those via corporate accounts were less than N5m.

Ahmad represented the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who had twice failed to appear before the lawmakers to defend the policy which had generated a groundswell of opposition from Nigerians.

The apex bank had informed the House that Emefiele would not appear before the House in person, rather, Ahmad would lead the Committee of Governors before the lawmakers.

In her presentation to the House, the CBN deputy governor also noted that while some critics had expressed fears about the lack of commercial bank branches, especially in rural areas, data obtained by the CBN showed that people in remote locations had embraced online banking options.

Ahmad also announced that the CBN ordered 500 million notes of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations through the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc.

Ahmad, who asked for five minutes to explain the policy to the lawmakers, recalled that the cashless policy was first launched in 2012 based on sections 2(d) and 47 of the CBN Act.

She also recalled that the CBN commenced the pilot test in Lagos State where it introduced limits on transactions of N500,000 and N3m for individuals and corporate customers, respectively, and with charges for any amount above these.

She added, “The pilot was very successful and following that, the policy was extended to six other states – Abia, Anambra, Kano, Ogun and Rivers – in July 2013. Over the years – and it has been 10 years now since we first launched this – the policy had been amended severally due to feedback from stakeholders and also to ensure that we develop the infrastructure and financial access points required to support the policy.

“We suspended processing fees on excess lodgment in the past, in 2014. In 2017 and 2019, we also suspended the nationwide rollout of the cashless policy. Currently, we suspended fully any payments or charges on excess lodgment.”

The newspaper says that the Federal Government is reconsidering imposing excise duty on telecoms services after it was suspended, which would compel operators to adjust the rates of calls and data upward.

This is contained in a document titled ‘Invitation to a One Day Public Hearing and Submission of Memoranda on the 2022 Finance Bill,’ released by the House of Representatives Committee on Finance.

It indicated that suspended excise duty on telecoms services may feature again in the 2022 Finance Bill, which is currently before the National Assembly.

According to the committee, it is conducting a public hearing on the 2022 Finance Bill and one of the subjects on the agenda is the discussion of telecoms as one of the goods liable to excise duty.

Part of the document read, “Telecommunication services provided in Nigeria shall be charged with duties of excise at the rates specified under the duty column in the Schedule as the President may by Order prescribe pursuant to section 13 of this Act.”

It added all telecommunication services in Nigeria shall be charged with duties of excise at “the rates specified under the duty column in the Schedule as the President may by Order prescribe pursuant to section 13 of this Act”.

According to the bill, the amendment was necessary to expand the scope of duties beyond the telecoms sector to avoid an undue focus on levying duties on this sector, adding that would remove the limitation of the scope of services that may be subject to excise duty.

It further stated that the need to increase revenue generation/tax administration was the reason for the proposed excise duty on telecom services.

The document did not specify the rate at which the excise duty would be charged.

In July, the Federal Government announced plans to implement a five per cent excise duty on telecoms services.

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