Food vendors in Otukpo, Benue State are smiling to the bank after a steady boom in their businesses following the return of Mark d’Ball basketball competition in the town.
The Tide source reports that the competition could not hold in December 2016 following an eviction notice served on the organisers to vacate the premises used for the event.
The competition eventually returned in 2017 following the donation of a new basketball arena by former Senate President David Mark who is the sole sponsor of Mark d’Ball.
Some of the food vendors who spoke to our source expressed appreciation to the organisers, saying that their businesses thrived in 2017 compared to 2016 when the event couldn’t hold.
A vendor, Mrs Gloria Samuel, said she sold a quarter bag of rice every day. This, she said excluded what she makes from selling other foodstuffs.
“Some days I go home with N50,000 and at times N45,000. I always rely on this competition (Mark d’Ball) to prepare for the New Year.
“Last year (2016) December was tough because the competition didn’t hold; planning for the New Year was difficult for my family but I thank God things are normal again,” she said.
She commended the organisers of the competition and pleaded for it to be sustained.
Another vendor who specialised in preparing indomie noodles with egg, but only gave his name as Simeon, told our source that he enjoyed celebrating his Christmas in Otukpo because of the brisk business during Mark d’Ball.
“I am from Plateau State. In the last five years, I have been going home on Jan. 1 because I wait till the end of Mark d’Ball.
“I couldn’t travel last year (2016) Christmas because Mark d’Ball didn’t hold and I didn’t have enough money to spend when I travel.
“In fact, I have already called my people that I am coming on New Year day because I know I can take care of expenses at home this time around,” Simeon said.
Simeon who sold a plate of two indomie noodles packs and two eggs for N350 said he sold up to four cartons every day.
The manager of Leach Hotel, Mr Malik Adejoh, situated in the Government Reserved Area of Otukpo, did not hide his joy for the competition as his hotel rooms were fully booked.
“Mark d’Ball is one tournament we rely on every year to make up for the lost periods during the year.
“I have managed this hotel for about 15 years and I can tell you what we have benefitted from this competition. People come from different parts of the country to lodge here.
“I have some basketball teams and Nigerian artists that are lodging in this hotel and we also hosted the “Miss Idoma” beauty pageant in this arena.
“As I am talking to you now, we don’t have any room that is free; they have all been booked until Mark d’Ball comes to a close on December 31 night, and this happens every year apart from 2016.
“I know what we lost when it didn’t hold in 2016 but I thank God we are here again,” Adejoh said.
Mark d’Ball is a sports and entertainment event that brings Nigeria’s most exciting basketball teams, comedians and musicians to perform live in Otukpo.
Famous musicians like Majek Fashek, Tuface Idibia, Terry G, P-Square, Ambassador Wahala, Aboki for Christ, Fred Bright and Chuks the General are some of the entertainers that performed at Mark d‘Ball events.
Others are Ice Prince, Tekno, Okey Bakassi, Ibu, Pastor Nicodemus and Klint da drunk.
Estate Surveyors Reject Housing Deficit Report
The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has disagreed with the report of housing deficit in Nigeria, insisting that there is no proof to justify the report.
The institution also corroborated the assertion of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, that Nigeria does not have a 17 million housing deficit.
A recent report had indicated that there are 17 million housing deficit in Nigeria.
President of NIESV, Emma OkasWike, who faulted the report in an interaction with newsmen, Monday, said the body was in full agreement with the minister’s statement and position on the matter.
“We are in total agreement with the minister on the unreliability of the 17 million housing deficit being brandished in Nigeria for lacking scientific proof.
“We are using this opportunity to reaffirm the importance of data bank and our commitment to the provision of a property data bank for all state capitals and major cities in Nigeria”, NIESV president said.
Wike, however, agreed that there are more demands in housing sector due to mass movement from rural areas to urban centres, adding that when demand exceeds supply, there will be scarcity.
He said that the solution to the problem lies in having accurate data of empty houses in the cities, which could assist in further planning.
The NIESV president hinted that his institution had been challenged to come up with accurate data on the housing issue, pointing out that such data would help solving the housing problem.
“We have laws in this country, and law is not the problem; it is not enough to say repeal the law, but the implementation is the problem.
“The communities fighting over land, resulted in enacting the Land Use Act, and every section of the Land Use Act has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. The administration of the law is the problem we have in this country, but not the law perse”, he said.
By: Corlins Walter
FG To Shut Ikorodu Terminal Over Explosive Overtime Cargoes
Strong indications have emerged that the Federal Government may shut down the Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos over the recent alarm raised by the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) on some explosive overtime cargoes.
Members of the Governing Board, NPA, had recently expressed worries over some overtime cargoes that have been abandoned for over 44 years at the facility, even as they called on management of the Nigeria Customs Service to expedite actions to evacuate some of the detained consignments.
Speaking with our correspondent recently on the next line of actions by the NPA Board in furtherance to the evacuation of the dangerous cargoes, one of the board members, Hon. Ghazali Mohammed Mijinyawa, said government might shut down the facility due to high risk involved.
The board member reiterated that the explosive cargoes pose serious threat to the facility and the nation, adding that it would be wise for government to shut down the terminal and give rooms for the evacuation of such items.
According to him, the executive board of NPA will hold a retreat to determine the next line of actions on Ikorodu Lighter Terminal in Lagos.
“The executive management would have a retreat and I wouldn’t tell you what the retreat is all about but in two weeks time, we are going to shut the port terminal at Ikorodu and that is what we are going to do”, he reaffirmed.
On the issue of revoking the licenses of some terminal operators, Mijinyawa said plans were afoot to review the port concession agreement in order to be fair to all parties involved in the process of renewal.
Mijinyawa who is also the chairman, Seaport Concession, NPA, pointed out that the terminal operators had testified that NPA was committed to the concession agreement and would further ensure fair play to all parties involved in the renewal process.
He said, “We have to sit down and have a review of everything and of course if there are those worthy of renewal we just have to give them that opportunity but for the ones that have defaulted, it is better you find out why they default before any necessary actions because you just have to strike a balance.
“It’s not a matter of I am not going to renew the agreement but to find out why are they not functioning properly. Is it because of the Covid? Is it the NPA defaulting? Is it them defaulting? So, you just have to go through the documents and see for yourself before you make a judgment of that; so that we can be fair to all parties”.
According to him, the terminal operators appreciated the efforts of the NPA on the working relationship between stakeholders as against the backdrop of port operations since 2006.
By: NkpemenyieMcdominic, Lagos
CBN Not Supporting Solid Minerals Dev – Minister
The Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, DrUche Ogah, has alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not been supporting the development of the mines and solid mineral sector in the country.
The minister made the allegation at a two-day public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals, Mines, Steel Development and Metallurgy.
The forum was aimed at getting inputs of stakeholders to the contents of four bills on how to achieve rapid development of the solid minerals sector.
The bills are Nigerian Minerals Development Corporation Establishment Bill 2021, Solid Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission Establishment Bill 2021, Institute of Bitumen Management Establishment Bill 2021, and the Explosive Act 1964 Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2021.
The panel is also expected to investigate the loss of $9 billion annually due to illegal mining and smuggling of gold.
Ogah said, “It is unfortunate that the Central Bank of Nigeria did not believe in us. If they believe in us, if they support us the way they are supporting agriculture, we will do wonders for this country.
“This is one ministry that is untapped, that is unknown, that can change the landscape of our revenue.”
The minister said there was need to support research for growth of the sector.
According to him, “Equally, we need to ask the Ministry of Finance to speed up the export policy on solid minerals because that is the only way to have operators into the sector”.
Ogah urged citizens to be involved in checking the activities of intruders in the mining sub-sector.
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