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NIPOST vs FIRS, Pantami vs Dabiri-Erewa — the social media fights in Buhari’s govt

NIPOST vs FIRS, Pantami vs Dabiri-Erewa — the social media fights in Buhari’s govt
August 04
13:37 2020

“The following contest is scheduled for one fall” — so goes the intro for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) matches.

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This is, however, not about the WWE.

Welcome to social media bouts featuring government agencies and their heads under President Muhammadu Buhari.

While there has been no “one fall” so far in the contests, some agencies and their heads have taken to social media to batter one another.

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But who is winning the trophy?

NIPOST VS FIRS

On Sunday, Maimuna Abubakar, board chairman of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), became the latest signing on the online tug of war where she took a jab at the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS).

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Abubakar took to her Twitter handle to cry out that the FIRS stole NIPOST’s mandate.

Her claim came amid the contention between the FIRS and NIPOST over which agency is the custodian of stamp duty provided for in the Stamp Duty Act.

The FIRS, in a recently released circular, said it now has a portal for automated stamp duty collection — a claim NIPOST opposed, insisting that it is empowered to print, mint, produce, retail, and provide adhesive postage stamps.

In a series of tweets, Abubakar alleged that the FIRS also stole ideas of NIPOST, and called on the public — NOT the government — to intervene.

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Barely 24 hours after she raised the alarm, FIRS fired back, describing Abubakar’s comments as a “disservice to the government and people of Nigeria”.

Writing via its Twitter account, the FIRS said it is determined to “not only ensure that all monies collected by NIPOST into its illegally operated Stamp Duties Account are fully remitted into the Federation Account but also make sure that any kobo not accounted for in that account is legally recovered in line with the charge of President Muhammadu Buhari to the recently inaugurated Inter-ministerial committee on the recovery of stamp duties from 2016 till date”.

“In addition, anyone found culpable of misappropriating the funds in the said illegal NIPOST Stamp Duties Account would be made to face the law as provisioned by the country’s statute books,” the agency added.

DABIRI-EREWA VS MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS/NCC

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About two months ago, Nigerians were treated to the drama between Abike Dabiri-Erewa, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), and Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy.

In a video tweeted by NIDCOMDabiri-Erewa accused Pantami of ordering gunmen to throw out staff of her commission from an office that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) gave them.

According to Dabiri-Erewa, “in one year, we don’t have an office. The office we got, given to us by NCC but we were actually driven away by the honourable minister of communications and digital economy, Mr Isa Pantami, within two days, they drove us out with guns and what happened? The place was given to us by NCC”.

Pantami responded shortly after, describing the NIDCOM CEO’s claim as a “fat lie”.

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“The minister has never given that directives to any gunman,” he said via Twitter.

The NCC made a cameo appearance in a statement published on its website and shared on Twitter denying Dabiri-Erewa’s claims.

But that was not the end. NIDCOM immediately countered NCC’s claim and tweeted another video showing some NIDCOM staff that were “locked out” of their office.

The agency also said the “notice of evacuation was given via a text message on February 9”.

By now, you would think the curtain had fallen, but wait for it. Dabiri-Erewa came through with a comeback, accusing Pantami of lying and disrespecting women.

“An Islamic scholar should not lie, Hon. Minister,” she said, before dropping the bomb: “Your disrespect for women in legendary.”

IGP VS CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF

In 2019, it was the turn of the police and the army, following the killing of three policemen and a civilian by soldiers in Taraba during the arrest of Hamisu Bala, better known as Wadume.

In a post boldly titled “SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT – WHERE IS THE “RESCUED” NOTORIOUS KIDNAPPER, ALHAJI HAMISU BALA WADUME?” the message to the army was published on the official Twitter handle of the Nigeria police force on August 8, 2019.

The police had taken to social media to accuse the Nigerian army of insensitivity to the situation.

In the statement, the police denied the army’s claim that the slain officers did not identify themselves at the military checkpoint before they were shot dead.

The post generated criticism of the two security agencies, with Nigerians wondering why the police seemed to be seeking justice through social media.

However, Wadume has been rearrested and is currently standing trial.

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