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Nigerian Selected for Prestigious International Writing Program

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Award-winning Nigerian poet, essayist, translator and author of short stories, Mr. Tade Ipadeola, has been selected to participate in the International Writing Program (IWP) Fall Residency at the University of Iowa, courtesy of the United States Department of State.

From September 1 to November 16, 2019, Ipadeola, the 2013 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, joins 28 other accomplished writers from across the globe in the world’s oldest and largest multinational writing residency.

Over the course of 11 weeks, Ipadeola and the other participants will give readings and lectures that share their work and cultures, collaborate with artists from other genres and art forms, and travel to interact with audiences and literary communities across the United States.

In addition, the residency will provide the writers a one-of-a-kind inter-cultural opportunity to forge productive relationships with colleagues and translators, and take part in the vibrant social and academic life of the University of Iowa as well as the larger American literary scene.

United States Consulate Public Affairs Officer Russell Brooks congratulated the Nigerian writer on his acceptance into the residency program. According to him, the goal of the IWP Fall Residency is to provide outstanding writers with a platform for cultural exchange and collaboration.

“The International Writing Program Fall Residency is a unique experience for rising stars and established writers who have achieved literary distinction and have shown interest in contributing to the creative writing culture in their home countries.

“This program will enable Ipadeola to present his works and Nigeria’s literary culture to a wider audience. He will in turn learn more about U.S. society, culture, and the American people,” Brooks said.

Ipadeola has three published works, including The Sahara Testament, a poetry collection, which won the Nigeria Prize for Literature in 2013 and has been translated into Dutch, French, Spanish and Xhosa.  In 2009, he won the Delphic Laurel in Poetry for his Yoruba poem Songbird at the Delphic Games in Jeju, South Korea. In 2012, he translated Paid on Both Sides, the first dramatic work of renowned Anglo-American poet, W.H. Auden, into Yoruba as Lamilami.

To date, 34 Nigerian literary figures have participated in the IWP Fall Residency. Notable among them are Elechi Amadi (1973), Cyprian Ekwensi (1974), Ola Rotimi (1980), Femi Osofisan (1986), Niyi Osundare (1988), Festus Iyayi (1990), Lola Shoneyin (1999), Obari Gomba (2016).

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THERE’S NO MULTIPLE TAXATION IN LAGOS – SANWO-OLU

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Lagos State Government has reiterated that there is currently no multiple taxation in Lagos State revenue system.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu stated this during a courtesy visit to Lagos House, Ikeja by the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) Mr. Muhammad Nami.

Placing emphasis on startups, the Governor stated that his administration will always improve on the ease of doing business in the State rather than stifle the economy with loaded taxes.

Mr Sanwo-Olu promised to embrace and support the activities of start-ups who are scared of the tax burden associated with businesses.

He also urged Nigerians to pay their taxes regularly in order for the Government to attain a balanced development at all levels, which according to him, include social infrastructure, security among others.

The Governor promised that Lagos State Government would continue with the existing relationship and further collaborate with the Federal Inland revenue Service in sharing information to aid revenue collection and ensure deliverables were met.

Sanwo-Olu lauded the Federal Government for considering the starte up businesses in the exemption threshold on taxation.

His said: “we will make sure that there is ease of doing businesses, especially start-ups, that are always scared that they have multiple taxation. There is nothing like multiple taxation in Lagos.

“It is clear that they are exempted but that doesn’t stop them from doing proper filing and ensure transparent reporting at whichever level of their business.

“We will also use this opportunity to encourage our citizens that it is only when they play their own part as responsible citizens both at the corporate and individual level that the government can come up and discharge its responsibilities.

“Development is by tax and it is only when we collect reasonably amount of tax that we can introduce development both at infrastructure level and more importantly on security so we cannot but ensure that we collaborate and corporate with you,” he said.

Responding to the Chairman on the N8.5 trillion target set by the President, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the country has the capacity to generate such amount but warned that it must be done cautiously.

Also speaking on the ongoing Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) 2020 meeting holding for the first time in Lagos, Sanwo-Olu said it was an opportunity to deliberate on the proceeds that State gets from the Federal Government was used judiciously.

He said: “I am sure they know clearly that you can live up to those bills and 8.5 trillion sounds a lot but they know you have the capacity.

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, said the aim of the visit was to ensure effective performance of the service in meeting its target and in its request to share information, collaborate in building capacity as well as engage private sector on the Value Added Tax collection.

“We feel without this collaboration, we cannot generate this 8.5 trillion that we have been mandated by the President to generate,” he said.

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LAGOS-BADAGRY HIGHWAY MUST REMAIN 10-LANE CARRIAGEWAY, SANWO-OLU APPEALS TO FG

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The 10-lane right-of-way already set by the Lagos State Government in the ongoing construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway needs to be preserved, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged the Federal Government.

Sanwo-Olu said the ongoing construction work on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway would shoot up population upon completion and open the corridor up for more physical development.

The Governor stressed that the maintenance of 10-lane on the stretch currently being constructed by the Federal Government was necessary to help the State efficiently manage traffic and enhance safety of residents on the axis.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday, while meeting with members of the Senate Committee on Works that paid him a courtesy visit at the State House in Alausa. The Committee was led by its chairman, Sen. Adamu Aliero.

The Federal Government is currently handling the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Agbara to Seme Border, while Lagos Government is complementing the effort from Orile to Iba town, creating five-lane on either sides of the 22-kilometre-long stretch.

The Governor said reducing the expressway to two-lane highway could not be sustainable for future development, adding that the preservation of the 10-lane already set on the highway would make it easy for Lagos to extend its Blue Line Rail project into Badagry town.

Sanwo-Olu said: “I am happy that the Federal Government has taken up the construction of Lagos-Badagry Expressway from Agbara to Seme Border. But the challenge is that we don’t want them to reduce the expressway to two lanes. We’ve said to them that they should keep the 10-lane right-of-way, instead of reducing it back to two-lane. Even if what they are going to build is two lanes on either sides, let them keep the space for expansion to 10 lanes. So that in future, either State or Federal government can build on it.

“We also have our rail infrastructure along that Badagry corridor and we are hoping that it will be completed before the end of next year. With the rail corridor and the 10-lane expressway, it means we can extend the rail project to Badagry. That’s why we must preserve the 10 lanes for future development.”

The Governor thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly for prioritising the rehabilitation of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the budgetary support being giving to the Ministry of Works and Housing handling the project.

Sanwo-Olu praised the Minister for Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, for the progress recorded on the ongoing construction work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, while also urging the Federal Government to hasten the rehabilitation work on other inter-state expressways, including Ikorodu-Sagamu Highway, Itokin Expressway and Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway.

He said Lagos had already started to leverage Public Private Partnership (PPP) in providing requisite infrastructure to support businesses and enhance economic growth. He said the State was ready to support other private-led initiatives that would bring succour to commuters and residents of the State.

Aliero said the purpose for the Committee members’ trip to Lagos was to inspect the ongoing road projects being handled by the Federal Government in the State, noting that the Senators would be visiting Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki, Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Badagry expressways to inspect the ongoing work on the roads.

The Committee chairman said Lagos deserved the attention being accorded to it by the Federal Government, describing the State as “strategic” for commerce and innovation in the country.

Although two of the road projects are being funded from Sovereign Wealth Fund and Budget, Aliero said there was need for Government at all level to partner with private sector for development projects. He said the National Assembly had start working on legislation that would make the Government to leverage PPP model in financing infrastructure.

He said: “We can no longer rely on budgetary allocations to continue funding projects. We have to find an alternative way of providing infrastructure, including roads, railway and power. Perhaps it is important now to go into PPP, giving the example laid down by Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is constructing and expanding Apapa-Oshodi-Oworonsoki Expressway. If we had gone by budget, it might take another 10 years to complete the road.

“If we allow the private sector to construct and manage the infrastructure, it would go a long way in making provision of infrastructure easier. This is why the Senate is coming up with strong legislation to enable the private sector to go into partnership with Government to build infrastructure. Whatever money remain can be invested in social sector, such as education and healthcare delivery.”

Aliero praised the Lagos Government for complementing the effort of the Comptroller of Works in traffic management and rehabilitation of failed sections of federal roads.

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The Uganda 7s team battled bravely in Chile to finish 7th out of 16 teams in the first leg of the new WR Challenger series

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Uganda started their tournament brightly against Italy who were unknowns – Uganda came away with a strong 24-14 win with a hat trick and a conversion from Philip Wokorach while Micheal Okorach added a 4th try and Aaron Ofoyrwoth a conversion. Their second game was against Paraguay, also an unknown entity, but Uganda cruised to an easy 47-00 win with Philip Wokorach, Solomon Okia and Ian Munyani touching down twice and Aaron Ofoyrwoth also getting a try to his name while Philip converted 6 of the 7 tries.

Germany once again broke Ugandan hearts despite Uganda initially leading 07-00 at half time through an Aaron Ofoyrwoth and Philip Wokorach adding the extras. Germany took the lead in the second half with 2 unconverted tries and despite Norbert Okeny scoring to reduce the gap, Germany scored again and held on until the end of the game to win 19-12. Uganda finished day 1 as second in their pool and went on to the quarter final where they met Hong Kong.

Hong Kong suffocated Uganda of possession and Uganda did little to help their cause when they gifted Hong Kong possession through unforced errors. Hong Kong scored once each half with neither conversion being successful. Uganda managed to hit back through a Norbert Okeny try after he collected a pass from Philip Wokorach who had broken the line and Nobert high tailed it from inside the Ugandan half to dot down between the posts. Philip Wokorach added the extras to cut the deficit to 3 points but Hong Kong stifled Uganda’s attack and run out 10-07 winners.

Uganda then dropped to the 5th place semi final where they met Tonga, a team Uganda had never lost to before. It seemed like it would be business as usual when Desire Ayera took advantage of Tonga misfielding the kickoff and pounced on the loose ball and scored within 15 seconds – possibly the quickest try in the entire tournament. Philip Wokorach obliged with the extras but 2 tries and one conversion from Tonga before the break had Uganda trailing 12-07 at half time. An inspired run out of Uganda’s half by Pius Ogena in the second half took Uganda into Tonga’s 5 and after a series of passes Nobert Okeny latched onto the ball to score. Once again, Philip Wokorach’s boot found its target and Uganda took a slim 2 point lead. Defensive lapses let Uganda down again and Tonga found the corner to take the lead once more and held on to win 19-12 and go on to the 5th place final against Zimbabwe that they won by an identical score. Germany went on to win the tournament after beating Hong Kong in the final while Japan beat Chile in the 3rd place final.

Uganda travel to Uruguay today where they are in Pool B with Hong Kong (seed 2), Jamaica (seed 10) and Brazil (seed 15).

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