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Jonathan Inaugurates Fund For Distressed Communities

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President Goodluck
Jonathan has in Abuja inaugurated the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund meant to revitalise the economies of communities affected by conflicts and disasters in the country.
The Fund, according to the Tony Elumelu Foundation, managers of the fund, will be used to transform economies ravaged by natural disasters and conflicts, such as those in Jos and Niger Delta.
At the launch of the fund, held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan thanked the founder, Mr Tony Elumelu, and the fund’s board for their vision and sense of responsibility toward the needy.
The President, who announced a N250-million donation to the fund, pledged the “full support and cooperation” of the Federal Government to the initiative.
He said: “I am pleased to join you for the launch of the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund.
“From what I gathered, the fund will provide interventions focused on the medium and long term needs of post-conflict and post-disaster communities.
“This will be achieved by revitalising their socio-economic and environmental fabric as it relates to the four core pillars of social welfare, enterprenurship, reconstruction and environmental management.
“I believe that  through carefully selected Nigerians and international partnerships, the fund will bring economic opportunities, sustainable development and empowerment to communities.”
The President also thanked Elumelu and other partners for their contributions to the victims support fund which he launched in July to provide succour for insurgency victims in the North east.
He said that the gesture was a clear demonstration of how much the private and public sectors could achieve in working together for national transformation.
The President added that “no doubt, the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fundý is a welcome partner organisation to compliment and follow-up from the immediate relief efforts of the Federal Government, relevant ministries, departments and other agencies and relief organisations.
“As they partner with others to revive and create sustainable programmes in benefiting communities across our country, it is my fervent prayer that this will help to rebuild peace in the heart of our people.
“I also believe that such efforts should help to restore hope for a brighter future for families and communities.
“This will re-enforce our collective determination to sustain the unity and progress of this great country.”
In his speech, Elumelu said that the fund was inspired by the President’s leadership on the road to post-conflict recovery through the creation of the victims support fund.
According to him, Jonathan has demonstrated foresight in recognising that in the 21st century, government and private sector collaboration is key to achieving progress in society.
“Be it in the power, agriculture or health sector, Jonathan has made it a priority to partner with the private sector to achieve real and lasting results.
“As government executes domestic humanitarian intervention, relief and rehabilitation efforts in adversely impacted areas, he also reached out to the private sector.
“While none of us wishes to have a reason to donate to a natural disaster or post-conflict situation, we cannot ignore that these tragedies exist in our homeland.”
He said the fund was created out of the N2.5 billion donated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holdings Companies.
Elumelu explained that N1 billion was disbursed out of the money to the victim support fund, while the remaining N1.5 billion would now serve as the seeding for the fund.
He called for support from well-meaning individuals, groups and corporate bodies to the fund.

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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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