The military, through its “Operation Delta Safe,’’ destroyed 81 illegal refining sites in the Niger Delta in the last two weeks. They also destroyed 254 storage tanks, 173 cooking ovens, 118 dugout pits, and 36 wooden boats found at the sites, defence spokesperson Major General Musa Danmadami told journalists on Thursday in Abuja during the bi-weekly update on nationwide military operations. He added that troops arrested 81 suspected oil thieves in different locations in the region as well as recovered 1.06 litres of crude oil, 391,000 litres of diesel, 11 cars, six tankers, eight pumping machines and three motorcycles. They also recovered two outboard engines, one tricycle, and five AK47 rifles loaded with 7.62mm special bullets. Mr Danmadami said troops raided a suspected gunmen enclave at Ebem Community in Abi Local Government Area of Cross River, arrested suspects and recovered arms and ammunition.
The Federal High Court in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, has sentenced the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Senator Bassey Albert, to 42 years in prison for graft and money laundering. Justice Agatha Okeke handed down the sentence on Thursday against the senator representing Akwa Ibom Northeast (Uyo) Senatorial District. The court found him guilty of the six-count charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) filed against the lawmaker. Albert has been taken to Ikot Ekpene prison to serve his prison term. The lawmaker was accused of receiving 12 cars worth ₦254 million as bribes from an oil marketer, Olajidee Omokore, during his (Albert’s) tenure (2010 – 2014) as the state finance commissioner. The maximum sentence for each count is 14 years. The judge ordered that Albert will serve seven years for each of the six counts and he is to return ₦204 million to the Federal Government after serving the sentence. The convicted senator was a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member before he defected months ago to the YPP, where he secured the party’s 2023 governorship ticket.
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says it has approved a one-off waiver of all outstanding interests and penalties imposed on established tax liabilities by the TaxPro Max until 31 December 2022. The tax agency said this in a public notice released on Thursday and signed by Muhammad Nami, its executive chairman. In June 2021, the FIRS introduced and deployed the TaxPro Max, a solution for filing tax returns and paying taxes. FIRS said the TaxPro Max has enhanced the ease of paying taxes in Nigeria and reduced the cost of tax compliance for taxpayers. FIRS explained that it granted the one-off waiver due to complaints from taxpayers who said additional interests and penalties were imposed on them while generating payment reference numbers (PRN) on liabilities. Nami advised taxpayers to take advantage of the waiver and pay all their outstanding tax liabilities. He warned that failure to pay the outstanding tax liabilities on or before the deadline would leave the service with no other option than to apply the relevant provisions of the law in recovering all outstanding taxes.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces on Thursday said M23 rebels and their allies killed 50 civilians in a massacre in the eastern town of Kishishe this week, which the M23 denied. Congo’s army and the M23, a Tutsi-led militia, have been locked in fighting for months in the country’s restive east, with each accusing the other of initiating attacks. “The M23 Movement rejects the baseless allegations made against it in Kishishe,” said the group’s political spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka, in a statement. The United Nations and a U.S. diplomat also said they had information about civilian killings on Tuesday in Kishishe, North Kivu province, but did not give details. Both called for an investigation. Congo and U.N. experts say neighbouring Rwanda supports the M23, which Rwanda has consistently denied. The two countries took part in talks last week in Angola aimed at finding solutions to the conflict. One of their agreements was that an East African Community (EAC) regional force would intervene against the M23 if it did not stop fighting and withdraw from its positions. The EAC started sending troops into eastern Congo earlier this year to help fight various armed groups. A South Sudan army spokesman on Thursday said a battalion of 700 South Sudan troops would be sent to join the regional force.