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Abia Tackles Poverty In Rural Areas

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Abia State government has pledged to tackle poverty in the rural areas through provision of infrastructure and information and communication technology , especially, internet services.
The new Commissioner for Co-operatives, Poverty Alleviation and Rural Development, Chief Israel Amanze, who made the pledge shortly after taking charge of the ministry’s affairs, also assured that the ministry would evolve rehabilitation programmes for commercial motorcyclists (Okada riders) whose operations government recently banned in the metropolitan local governments.
Beaming with smiles after receiving the handover note from the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Ojum Ekeoma Ogwo Amanze said in an interview with The Tide that the ministry was specifically created to find solutions to rural development and empowerment of the ruralites to alleviate poverty in the state.
“We can never neglect the rural areas because over 75 per cent of our people live there. So these are the people we need to touch their lives. It is this ministry that is encumbered with the responsibility of improving their lives by provision of rural infrastructure: rural roads, rural electricity, formation of cooperatives and maintenance of such structures and alleviation of poverty for our vulnerable groups. I feel this is the best time for us to make a mark in this area,” the former Abia State Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) said.
“We will try to do our best to cushion the effects of poverty, using government policies, through this ministry, to touch the lives of our people so that they will be positively influenced and positively motivated,” he said.
“So, having come in as commissioner, I have already challenged the directors, we will find out immediately what we can do to alleviate poverty, to improve rural infrastructure and what we can do to improve the lives of our people in the rural areas. So it is a challenge and with the goodwill of His Excellency, Governor T.A.Orji (Ochendo) who has said he is interested in the people, he wants to move the people forward, we will succeed in doing that,” he assured.
“As the dry season is coming, I want to see how we can galvanise ourselves to go into the field to see how we can improve rural infrastructure. I have also seen what is going on with our people who are Okada riders, we want to see how to alleviate their plight but it is something I want to discuss with His Excellency before I will know how we will go about it. But it is an area I want us to go into” the commissioner added.
On sensitising the populace on the programmes of his ministry, Amanze said that apart from using the media, the ministry “will also explore the possibilities of doing some rural internet services.” He said plans were afoot to get those to install the facilities and link up the various rural communities and make the relevant in the new information age.
The United Nations consultant said he was on a familiar terrain, having been participating in “rural empowerment.” “I have worked in the rural areas in farmers’ emancipation and empowerment of the rural poor.

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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