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Open Grazing Ban: OPC, Farmers, Lawyers, Others Back Southern Govs

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Both Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and the Agbekoya Farmers Society have backed Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum (SNGF) on the ban on open grazing of cattle in the southern part of the country.
The two groups described the idea as welcome development that would go a long way in checking insecurity across the region but also sought the governors permission on the use of ‘juju’ for it enforcement and deal with criminal/ defiant herdsmen ruthlessly.
Speaking separately with newsmen, both OPC Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin; and the National Secretary of Agbekoya, Prince Adegbenro Ogunlana; expressed the readiness of their groups to complement government effort on security.
On ban of open grazing by the governors, the groups pledged to support the government to make sure the law is effective by using all what they have (Juju) to enforce it, stating that it would be more effective than what the government is depending on to enforce it.
Oguntimehin said, “It’s is a very welcome development, and we believe in it go a long way in checking issues of insecurity. Whenever it comes to issue of security, OPC is always in forefront, our intervention on issues of security is an open secret.
“People should not misinterpret the good intention of the governors; they are not against anybody but the criminal elements who disturbing the peace of Nigerians. For peace to reign will collaborate the government as we have been doing before and again, if we get the government backing we will use all have including juju to tackle insecurity”.
Welcoming the development as well, Ogunlana said, “It’s a good step taking in the right direction by the governors if, they are sincere with their decision and not just playing politics as usual.
“Nobody is against anybody, all we care for is security of life and property, the South is not against the North. Apart from ban on open grazing and other resolutions of governors, the farmers should also be compensate for their loss in the past, government should support us, we need support.
“If government can back us, our traditional ways of protecting life and security are still with us, and we are ready to unleash it if permitted by the government “.
Also, many lawyers have faulted the position of some northern stakeholders that the declaration of ban of open grazing by the southern governors was not in line with 1999 Constitution.
The National President of Kulen Allah Cattle Rearers Association of Nigeria (KACRAN), Khalil Mohammed Bello, while reacting to the development, had said that the ban on open grazing negates the 1999 Constitution.
It is unfortunate that the makers of such statement did not consult knowledgeable people before exhibiting such ignorance, the lawyers argued.
The lawyers said, “The ban on open grazing is just a regulation of a trading activity in line with what the Constitution permits. No trade or business activity is allowed under the Constitution to be carried in a manner destructive of the means of sustenance of others. Where the freedom of the herdsmen ends is where the rights of others begin.
“It is disappointing and disheartening that in the 21st Century, some supposedly educated people still believe that mundane and atarvistic manner of rearing animals by open grazing should be elevated beyond human existence.
“At the age when other nations are striving to attain the best scientific achievement possible, some people are craving for land grabbing in the name of right to graze. It is a shame honestly.
“They should listen to voices of reason from the North like Governor Ganduje of Kano and former Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Reasonable people from the North do not indulge in such insensitive banalities. The governors should just stick to their principled position on this issue, implement the law on anti-open grazing like we have in Oyo State and other places. We must return this country to its glorious days of peace and progress”.

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Edo, BoI Unveil Fund For 50,000 Entrepreneurs

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The Edo State Government and the Bank of Industry (BoI), have unveiled a Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) development fund worth N2 billion to support entrepreneurs in the state.
The fund was launched during a citizens’ engagement session organised by the Edo State Skills Development Agency, also known as Edo Jobs, held at the Government House in Benin City.
Speaking at the event, Governor Godwin Obaseki said, “The Bank of Industry (BoI), which is a reliable partner, is here today to launch the MSME fund. The initial amount is N2 billion. Edo State Government provided N1 billion, while BoI provided the other N1 billion, making it N2 billion, with an attractive interest rate.”
”In addition, we have a N165 million fund, as part of the first tranche from the Edo State Government. It will be made available to small businesses, which are currently domiciled in our production hub, to support and encourage them to grow their businesses.
“BoI has the capacity and resources to support this kind of programme. From this N2 billion fund, we estimate that we can impact as many as 50,000 businesses in Edo State. We have other facilities with other institutions like the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This is a start-up fund, as we expect it to continue to grow: If you start with N50,000, now and when you do well tomorrow in your business, you will need N200,000.
Borrowing is part of business, provided you continue to grow,” the governor stated.
The Governor assured that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, his administration remained committed to improving the livelihoods of the people and creating opportunities for the youths to thrive.
He stated: “We have continued to create opportunities for Edo youths as our administration is open, transparent and competent in all we do. We urge Edo people to trust us, as all the opportunities that we present are real, and life-transforming for Edo people.”
On his part, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, BoI, Mr. Olukayode Pitan, said that “in a quest to grow and develop MSME businesses in the country, the bank has resolved to continue to collaborate with existing enterprises, as well as reputable local and international partners.
“This MSME fund is aimed at providing business loans to enterprises located within the state, while the second fund is the N165 million Edo Production Hub Fund, financed by the Edo State Government. The Edo Production Hub Fund is managed by the BOI and is to support businesses located within the state-owned production hub.”
Later, the governor and his team, as well as his guests were also taken on a guided tour of the Edo Production Hub. They also commissioned the new Bank of Industry building in Benin City.

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City Crime

PHED Loses 215 Transformers To Vandals

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The Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company has raised the alarm that over 215 of its electricity transformers have been vandalized in the last few weeks in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States.
To this end, the Disco has appealed to members of the public to desist from the despicable act of tampering with its network, fittings, meters, wires and especially carting away of power transformers.
The Managing Director of PHED, Dr. Henry Ajagbawa, lamented that despite the huge investment in infrastructures gulping millions to overhaul ageing assets for efficient service delivery, all effort were being stifled by the horrendous action of these vandals.
Ajagbawa regretted that despite numerous campaigns on vandalism and its associate dangers, including electrocution and untimely death, faceless individuals were still having a field day in their chosen career path of vandalism.
He warned that PHED will not relent in tackling any further case of suspected and purposeful act of vandalism hence, the company will invoke every extant laws against vandals, as vandalism of electricity assets remains a jailable crime under the Miscellaneous Offence Act, Laws of the Federation.
“In recent weeks, the company has recorded more cases of vandalism of its assets than it has ever experienced from inception in 2013, as over 215 power transformers in our franchise area have been vandalized with no end in sight.
“A grave concern for PHED is that the replacement of those vandalized power assets costing millions of naira, is capital intensive and also has the propensity to keep other responsible customers in unforeseen darkness which is a disservice.
“Assuming that the vandals are not interested or choose to ignore the gravity of their actions as law breakers, the willfull destruction and theft of critical power assets is a jail-able offence under the laws guiding public utilities.
“The general public is therefore informed that PHED is more than prepared to tackle any further case of suspected and purposeful act of vandalism hence, the vandals should be warming up for a real battle for their freedom as PHED will invoke extant laws below against the vandals.”
The PHED boss further stated that the habitual act of vandalism poses a highs risk of instigating societal crimes in such a period where the citizenry are experiencing relative peace in the State.
He assured all PHED customers that the company will continue to fulfill its promise of delivering reliable and safe power supply in all its area of coverage.
“Unrepentant vandals heading to their next destination to unleash their plot should note that vandalism is not only wrong but also absurd as the Miscellaneous Offences Act contains provisions dealing with tampering with electrical equipment.
“Clearly, Section 1(9) of the Act provides that ‘any person who unlawfully disconnects, removes, damages, tampers, meddles with or in any way whatsoever interferes with any plant, works, cables, wire or assembly of wires designed or used for transforming or converting electricity shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

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PH Escapes Petrol Tanker Fire Disaster

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Residents of the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital are counting themselves lucky for escaping what would have been a tragedy in the metropolis , last Friday, following the falling over of a petroleum tanker laden with 33,000 litres of product at Education Bus-stop, Mile One Diobu, Ikwerre Road.
The Tide gathered that the truck had lost its balance in an attempt to make a U-turn on the road, thereby falling over on its side onto both sides of the dual carriage road and spilling its content on the road.
This led to a commotion on the road as commuters and residents scampered to scoop the spilled product from the ground, while motorists hurried away as traders in the area were also seen gathering their wares to vacate the area to avoid explosion and fire incident.
An eye witnesses who simply gave his name as Nnamdi noted that it took the urgent intervention of operatives of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) State Fire Service and the Mile One police station to bring the situation under control.
According to Nnamdi, “the truck driver was trying to make a U-turn before the driver lost control of the gear”.
A visit to the site of the incident showed groups of people discussing the incident which occurred between 4:30 and 5:00pm,and thanking God for the quick intervention of the emergency safety operatives who helped to avert what would have been a disaster in the state.

By: Tonye Nria-Dappa

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