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Criminal Gangs Make Fortunes At Lagos Diplomatic Zone

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Criminal gangs have taken
over the diplomatic district at Walter Carrington Crescent on Victoria Island, Lagos, extorting money from people besieging the area to transact consular businesses.
The Tide source reports that unscrupulous young men have turned the area, popularly known as Eleke Crescent into a goldmine, collecting money from visitors for various services.
The gangs often compel visitors to pay as much as N1, 000 before they could be allowed to urinate in bushes on the lagoon coastline.
Visitors desiring to use shanties erected by the gangs to ease themselves were forced to pay N200 before they could be allowed to use the facilities.
A company executive, Mr Andrew Ekpah, told reporters that he was man-handled for daring to resist paying the gangs after he urinated at the lagoon coastline.
“The guys swooped on me and insisted that I must pay them one hundred naira after I finished urinating at the refuse heap at the lagoon coastline.
“I didn’t see why I should pay them because the place I urinated belonged to nobody. It is bush.
“More so, the boys are not local government officials. I argued that people should not be extorting money from innocent people simply because they can fight and intimidate.
“Has government abandoned its citizens to be exploited by unscrupulous elements?’’, he asked, displaying wounds inflicted on him by the hoodlums.
Investigations showed that motorists paid as much as N1, 000 to park on the road adjacent the Indian High Commission on Walter Carrington Crescent.
The toll collectors told our correspondent that they were collecting the money for Capital Oil Ltd, whom they said, “owned the road.’’
One of the collectors, who pleaded for anonymity told our source that “the road belongs to Capital Oil not local government; we have been collecting tolls here for many years’’.
But motorists are wondering why such tolls should be paid to a private company, instead of the Eti-Osa Local Government Council, the statutory owner of the road.
Eti-Osa Local Government Council officials kept sealed lips on the matter when a our correspondent sought their view on the issue.
A visa seeker, Mr Johnson Oye, told reporters that the activities of criminal gangs at the diplomatic area could be sending wrong signals on the level of lawlessness in Nigeria.
“How can some unscrupulous elements take it upon themselves to collect revenues for themselves that should ordinarily be collected by government?
“Government should arrest persons or gangs extorting money from people who come to Eleke Crescent to do legitimate businesses,’’ Oye said.
Another visa seeker, Mr Obasegun Olaoye, described Eleke Crescent as a goldmine that had provided limitless income to unscrupulous people over the years.
“Something must be done to curb the excesses of boys around the embassy areas. What they do here is not just good for our country because foreigners see these things every day.’’
A photographer, Mr Vincent Ogbonna, who runs a shop at one of the car parks, said that some people had been making their living from illegal businesses at the diplomatic area.

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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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