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Life’s journey can’t be straight again without my wife –Oyebade, husband of crushed LASTMA official

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For about five minutes, Babatunde Oyebade could not string words together to express the trauma he had been going through in the last one week. It was an unusual moment for Oyebade, who is known in his Olodi-Apapa, Lagos residence for being outspoken and social.

The council worker was at home last Saturday with lots of beautiful thoughts warming his mind as he expected the arrival of his darling wife, Folashade, an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority. He had thought of a special dinner she promised to prepare for the family; the fun-filled weekend they usually spent with their little daughter, Pelumi, who would clock two on July 6 as well as the joy of attending Sunday church service together.

But in what will remain a lifetime crack in the heart, Oyebade was jolted from a television programme he was watching around 6pm that fateful day with a call from his brother-in-law. And like a pack of cards, all those thoughts he was relishing were shattered by the news of Folashade’s tragic death. “She is the source of my joy,” Oyebade said in tears to break the silence.

A truck put on a reverse gear by its driver had climbed on the 33-year-old woman who was controlling traffic on Punch Road, Apapa. She died on arrival at the Apapa General Hospital. The driver is still on the run.

“She had bought some fish on Friday with the hope that she would prepare it when she came back from work on Saturday,” Oyebade began, as he took a sip from a drink he had been holding for hours.

“I became worried when it was 4pm and she was not back. I was hungry but I could not buy food because I love her meals. She was a good cook. Around 6pm, I got a call from her younger brother. He said somebody informed him that my wife had an accident in Apapa.

“He asked me to go to her duty post on Punch Road. I called him back twice to confirm if he was sure of what he said. He said her corpse was already in the Mainland Hospital mortuary. I said my wife could not die just like that and told him to keep his mouth shut.

“My wife was full of surprises. I thought she planned with her brother so I could rush down to her duty post to see another surprise. I went there on a motorcycle with my brother. On our way, I stopped by at her brother’s house to confirm what he told me on the phone. He said my wife was dead.”

Oyebade told our correspondent that he was still in doubt until he got to the scene of the incident and was told by his wife’s colleague that it was true.

“When I got to his duty post, I asked a LASTMA official about the incident, but he did not give me any response. He took me to his boss, who tried to calm me down. It was when the man said, ‘you have to take heart’ that I believed my brother-in-law,” he added.

Recalling the moments that defined their nine-year-old relationship, the native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, said Folashade was an ideal woman any man would wish to marry.

“She was so calm and forgiving. She was very hard-working and wanted the best for me and our daughter. She really gave all the support we needed as a couple. She suffered a lot. Pelumi was supposed to be our third child. Our first two children died at birth.

“I always told her that there was hope. We passed through those moments as a young couple. Now we have Pelumi, but it is very painful she did not live for the girl to know her. There is nothing I can do about it; I can’t question God,” he said.

Distraught Oyebade lamented that with Folashade’s death, his aspirations had been dealt a huge blow, adding that through her, his life had witnessed a positive change.

He stated, “It will be hard for me to find a wife like her. Our journey was straight; we had a focus. But with her death now, she has distorted my journey. That journey won’t be straight again. Our plan was to live a good life, be happy and give our children good education. We started our relationship in 2010 when we had nothing.

“She was religious and friendly. I wasn’t going to church because I believed good deeds were all what God wanted. She was the one who convinced me to attend church. If I said I was tired, she would persuade me to follow her. Even if she was running late, she would wait for me. She always encouraged me to pray. That is one of the things I can never forget about her.

“We would call each other on the phone when we were at work. If I complained I didn’t have money, she would tell me not to worry. She would find means to ensure that the family moved on. She helped me to manage the little salary I earned. With her support, we took good care of ourselves and our daughter.

“I don’t know what to tell our daughter if she asks for her mother. For now, she is with her aunt. I can’t control my emotion if she asks for her mummy. And she will surely ask me.”

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Poor tax collection: Fowler replies Buhari’s query

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The Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler, has responded to a memo from Abba Kyari, the chief of staff to the president, who said there were significant variances between the tax budgeted collections and actual collections for the period 2015 to 2018.

However, Fowler in his response explained that the recession experienced by the Nigerian economy in 2016 as well as lower oil prices affected the revenue collected by the FIRS.

See Fowler’s response: “I refer to your letter dated 8th August, 2019 on the above subject matter and hereby submit a comprehensive variance analysis between budgeted and actual collections for each main tax item for the period 2012-2018 as requested (see appendix 1).

“Your letter stated that actual collections for a 3-year period were significantly worse than what was collected between 2012 and 2014. Total actual collection for the said period wasN14,527.85 trillion, while total actual collection between 2016 to 2018 was N12,656.30 trillion.

The highlight of these collection figures was that during the period 2012 to 2014, out of the N14,527.85 trillion, oil revenue accounted for N8,321.64 trillion or 57.28% while non-oil accounted for N6,206.22 trillion or 42.72% and during the later period of 2016 to 2018, out of the N12,656.30 trillion, oil revenue accounted for N5,145.87 trillionor 40.65% and non-oil revenue accounted N7,510.42 trillion or 59.35%.

FIRS management has control of non-oil revenue collection figures while oil revenue collection figures are subject to more external forces.” He wrote: “The non-oil revenue collection grew by N1,304.20 trillion or 21% within the period 2016 to 2018.

“Kindly note that the total budget collection figure during 2012 to 2014 stood at N12,190.52 trillion compared to N16,771.78 trillion for the period 2016 to 2018, which represent an increase of 37.58%.

“Please note that the variance in the budgeted and actual revenue collection performance of the Service for the period 2016 to 2018 was main attributed to the following reasons:

“1. The low inflow of oil revenues for the period especially Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) was due to fall in price of crude oil and reduction of crude oil production. Notwithstanding government efforts to diversify the economy, oil revenues remains (remain) an important component of total revenues accruable to the Federation. The price of crude oil fell from an average of $113.72, $110.98 and $100.40 per barrel in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to $ 52.65, $43.80 and $54.08 per barrel in 2015, 2016 and 2017. There was also a reduction in crude oil production from 2.31mbpd, 2.18mbpd and 2.20mbpd in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to 2.12mbpd, 1.81mbpd and 1.88mbpd in 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

“2. The Nigerian economy also went into recession in the second quarter of 2016 which slowed down general economic activities. Tax revenue collection (CIT and VAT) being a function of economic activities were negatively affected but actual collection of the above two taxes were still higher in 2016 to 2018 than in 2012 to 2014. During the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, GDP grew by 4.3%, 5.4% and 6.3% while in 2015, 2016 and 2017 there was a decline in growth to 2.7%, -1.6% and 1.9% respectively. The tax revenue grew as the economy recovered in the second quarter of 2017.

“3. It is worthy of note that strategies and initiatives adopted in collection of VAT during the period 2015-2017 led to approximately 40% increase over 2012-2014 collections. In 2014 the VAT collected was N802billion, compared to N1.1 trillion in 2018. This increase is attributable to various initiatives such as ICT innovations, continuous taxpayer education, taxpayer enlightenment, etc embarked upon by the Service.

“4. Furthermore, it is pertinent to note that when this administration came on board in August 2015, the target the target for the two major non-oil taxes were increased by 52% for VAT and 45% for CIT. Notwithstanding the increase, FIRS has in line with the Federal government’s revenue base diversification strategy has grown the non-oil tax collection by over N1.304 trillion (21%) when the total non-oil tax collection for 2016-2018 is compared to that of 2012-2014.

“I am confident that our current strategies and initiatives will improve revenue collection and meet the expectations of government.

“Please accept the assurance of my highest regards.”

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We’re not aware of Oyo-Ita’s purported retirement – Presidency

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The Presidency on Monday declared that it was not aware of the purported move of the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, to retire from service.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had last week Tuesday grilled Oyo-Ita over alleged N3bn scam. The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, in a text message said that the Presidency was not in possession of any letter of intent from Oyo-Ita to retire from service. “Thanks.

We have no such letter here, in the event that such a letter exists. This is our position,” he stated

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Alleged N3bn Contract Scam: Winifred Oyo-Ita sends retirement letter to Buhari

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Winifred Oyo-Ita, the head of service of the federation, has offered to immediately proceed on retirement in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The widow had been under pressure from her immediate family to retire after news reports emerged that she was being probed over an alleged N3 billion contract scam.

Although she has vehemently denied involvement in any scam, she bowed to family pressures and sent in a letter on Sunday offering to proceed on retirement, we can report.

Buhari is yet to take a final decision on it but reports say he is favourably disposed to the option.

“Mrs Oyo-Ita has sent in her letter of retirement,” a family member, who asked not to be named, said on Monday morning.

She was absent at the presidential retreat for ministers-designate, federal permanent secretaries and top government functionaries held at the state house conference centre in Abuja.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recently questioned Oyo-Ita over allegations that she used front companies to get contracts when she was a permanent secretary before her appointment as head of service by Buhari in 2015.

There were insinuations that she was being “punished” for “falling out” with Abba Kyari but it was learnt that the president’s chief of staff was unaware of the EFCC probe until it was leaked to the media.

Oyo-Ita has also told her associates not to drag Kyari into the matter because “it is not true”, according to a family member.

The EFCC said the petition against her was written in 2014 when President Goodluck Jonathan was still in office. It was however, learnt that Oyo-Ita was not the subject of the probe.

It was also reported that N600 million was traced to the account of one of her aides who has been quizzed by the anti-graft agency and released.

However, Oyo-Ita also denied the allegation, saying the money was meant for the death benefits of staff and was meant to be kept in a designated account for that purpose by the project accountant.

“She denied knowing anything about where the money was kept and said there was no fraud involved, at least not from her end,” the family member said.

The Cable

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