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THE STATES

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As the global economic meltdown continues to put soco-economic growth of nations in reverse gear and unleash hardship on their citizens, especially in developing countries like Nigeria, a religious leader has provided a recipe. He has called on Christians to give to God what will attract a “Thank you” from Him, pointing out that when God says “thank you, nothing can stop your prosperity and nobody can harm you”. The Archbishop of Christ Healing Church of Nigeria (CHCN), His Grace, Most Rev (Dr) Benjamin A. Obomanu (JP) stated this Sunday at the 2009 Adult Thanksgiving Service of St. Nelson’s Church, Ikot Abasi in Akwa Akwa Ibom State. Obomanu who is also the Bishop of the Port Harcourt/Ikot Abasi Diocese of CHCN in his sermon on the theme: “I will not sacrifice to God burnt offering that costs me nothing”, said harvest is a period that the relationship of a Christians with God is put to test by what he offers to his creator for the great benefits he/she had received from His hands. According to the Prelate, many Christians make themselves their own enemies, as according to him God’s blessings can only be received through giving from the heart. “When God becomes your friend because of your giving, no one can be your enemy. The man of God urged Christians to joyfully thank God for all He has done for them in order to attract more blessings. Abuja The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday night arrested and detained the sacked Group Managing Director of Spring Bank, Mr. Charles Ojo, over alleged insider abuse, while the boss of the Commission’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed the arrest. The commission is also set to declare the sacked Group Managing Director of Equitorial Trust Bank, Mr. Ike Oraekwuotu, wanted if he did not give himself up for arrest. He did not give any ultimatum. He is said to be in hiding since his removal by the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged unethical handling of the bank while in charge. Mr.Francis Atuche, under whose headship the Bank PHB failed the apex bank stress test ,had been taken in by the commission last Friday. Also arrested same day was the highest individual debtor in the country, sacked Managing Director of Falcon Securities, Mr. Peter Ololo. Ojo was reportedly arrested at 11.30 pm Friday night at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos. The commission’s operatives were said to have trailed him from Abuja, where he boarded a late night flight, to Lagos and was reportedly picked while trying to use the cover of night to sneak out. The commission had put all the three sacked bank chiefs on security surveillance since they were removed by the apex bank penultimate week. The audit report of the apex bank was said to have indicted them for alleged insider abuse. It was learnt that the commission would start with the arrest of the trio and move against other members of the management teams of the three banks after interrogating the sacked bank bosses. Our source was informed that their interrogation would determine those to be picked among other members of the management teams and those to be left off the hook. The trio had reportedly ignored the directive of the commission to submit themselves to it and had to go after them when it became clear that they did not want to honour the commission’s invitation. The homes of Atuche and Ololo in Lagos were searched by the commission’s operatives after their arrest. It could not be confirmed as of press time if the same treatment was meted out to Ojo. The Chairman of the commission, Mrs Farida Waziri ,last Thursday stormed Lagos with 80 operatives for the arrest of the sacked management teams of three of the five banks that failed the recent Central Bank of Nigeria {CBN} stress test and the recovery of over N1 trillion non-performing loans owed ten troubled banks by top Nigerian businessmen, oil companies and stockbrokers. The first five banks that failed the apex bank’s stress test included Oceanic Bank, Intercontinental Bank, Finbank, Afri Bank and Union Bank, while the last five are Bank PHB, Spring Bank, Unity Bank, Equitorial Trust Bank and Wema Bank. Only Wema and Unity Banks’ management teams were spared. According to CBN, debtors of non-performing loans included Nigeria’s Ambassador to South Africa, Gen. Buba Marwa, scion of the late M.K.O Abiola’s dynasty, Kola, the deported Vaswani brothers , billionaire businessmen, Femi Otedola and Aliko Dangote, Professor Pat Utomi, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, Chief Cletus Ibeto of Ibeto Cement, among others. Ondo Following the uproar at the Ondo State House of Assembly over the delay in the swearing in of a lawmaker-elect, Hon. Adeniyi Akindele of Labour Party (LP), the assembly as adjourned its sitting indefinitely. Addressing reporters at the weekend in Akure, the state capital the Chairman, House Committee On Information, Orientation and Mobilisation, Hon. Kele Bolodeoku and his counterpart on the Public Account Committee, Hon. Niyi Adebusuyi, said the adjournment was due to insecurity at the assembly. The four of their colleagues, who were injured by suspected thugs on Thursday at the assembly’s premises, are responding to treatment at undisclosed hospitals. Bolodeoku said there was no way the House could sit in an unsecured environment. He urged Governor Olusegu Miniko to ensure that the security and property is guaranteed. Regretting the inability of the house of searing in the Hon. Adeniyi Akindele, who got his certificate of return last week, Bolodeoku said the assembly was constrained by the pending suit challenging Akindele’s election. He said the lawmakers will resume as soon as security there is guranteed. Ekiti The Ekiti State Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, has rejected two documents a witness sought to tender in favour of governor Segun Oni. It was at the resumed hearing of the petition filled by Action Congress (AC) governorship candidate Dr. Kayo Fayemi against Oni’s declaration as winner of the April 25 governorship rerun election. Omodan Afolabi sought to tender as exhibits his AC membership card and tag as party agent during the election. Afolabi, who claimed to have acted as a party agent for AC at Ipoti ward B Ijero Local Government Area of the state, urged the tribunal to admit the documents-his party membership card and party agent tao, as exhibits. The ruling, which threw out the two documents, was delivered shortly before the continuation of Oni’s defence of his election. Fayemi is challenging the results declared by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) in six wards of Ipoti A, Ipoti B in Ijero Local Government Area and Ifaki I, Ifaki II Orin/Ora and Usi in Ido/Osi Local Government Area. The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Hamma Barka, had in a short ruling after counsel announced their appearances rejected the two documents. He said they were not pleaded. Justice Barka upheld the objection of the counsel to the petitioners. Ibadan Unknown gunmen attacked the Ibadan, Oyo State Polytechnic Rector, Prof Moshood Nassar and other members of the institute Wednesday. The team was said to be returning from a visit from Eruna Compus before heading to Saki Satellite for an inspection tour when it was attacked by the hoodlums and the Rector was shot in the arm. At this point, the policeman simply identified as Hassan, was said to have shot one of the robbers who suddenly jumped on the road to stop the convoy. However, other members of the gang emerged from their hideout and ordered all those on the convoy to prostrate on the road, fired several shots on the policeman who died on the spot. It was said, to be a neigbouring community, Maya’s market day. The robbers had earlier robbed some other people before they got there, the police boss Baba Adisa Bolata confirmed the incident. Ogbomoso Ogbons, Christopher Chinwero, a corps member serving in Ogbomoso, Oyo State has reached out to over 2,500 persons aged 50 years and above through a community project to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. He organised two sessions in September and October at the Baptist Medical Centre, Ogbomoso during which health professionals attended to the needs of the elderly. The programme was a huge success, those in attendance included elderly persons, NYSC officials, traditional rulers of the indigenous community as well as representatives of pharmaceutical companies. Through this project, the participants were privileged to receive low-dose aspirin (Vasoprin, 75mg) courtesy of Juttel Nigeria Ltd. By this, Ogbons, a graduate of pharmacy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), hopes to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke using the wonder drug vasoprin 75mg. He, and his partners also equipped the participants with the knowledge of risk factors for some common cardiovascalar diseases such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension and congestive heart failure. Oyo Doctors at the University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, Oyo State, Wednesday suspended their three-day old strike. The stroke was called off following a negotiation with the hospital’s management. The negotiation began last Tuesday. The UCH branch of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) had embarked on strike last Monday, following a resolution at a congress last weekend. Association of Resident doctors (ARD) secretary, Dr Sunday Ekanem, said the decision to suspend the strike was reached at a congress held Wednesday. Bauchi A former student of the department of Science Laboratory Technology of Federal Polytechnic, Offa (FEDPOFFA) Kwara State, Mr Akinyemi Rotimi Olowookere, has been given automatic employment by the Bauchi State Government for his diligence and exemplary conduct during the 2007/2008 National Youth Service (NYSC) year. Apart from working diligently in his place of primary assignment at the Government College (special), Azare, Olowookere rallied, through proposals, 25 national and international organisations to support his project for the secondary school, and was able to build a community development centre, which was rated the best in the state in Azare as his Community Development (CD) project. Kwara Four nominees have been sent to State House of Assembly by the Kwara state Governor Bukola Savaki for confirmation as commissioners. However, he is seeking approval of the lawmakers to appoint three special advisers. At this point, the commissioner nominees are Abdulaaniya Dele, Ladi Hassan, Abubakar Kannike and AbdulRaaf Shittu. Three of the nominees Hassan, Shittu and Kannike were holding various positions. Hassann was Chief of Staff Government House, Shittu, Special Adviser on Infrastructure, and Kannike, Special Assistant on Agriculture.

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NDLEA Arrests 72-Year-Old Man, Five Others Over 5,721.92kg Of Hard Drugs

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A 72-year-old man and five undergraduate students are some of the suspects the NDLEA arrested in a week-long operation to seize hard drugs and arrest offenders.
The raids, across nine states and at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, yielded 5,721.92 kilogrammes of Indian hemp and other drugs.
The 72-year-old man, Emmanuel Akanbi was arrested at Odofin Camp, Uso, Owo Local Government Area of Ondo State with 2,050kg of Indian hemp.
The varsity students belong to the American University of Nigeria, (AUN) Yola, and the University of Maiduguri.
NDLEA’s Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi said in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja that one Okorie Onyeribe was arrested at the MMIA on December 3.
He was attempting to export 21.85kg of Indian hemp concealed in foodstuffs to London.
Babafemi stated that two students, Emmanuel Thlama and Jonah Joshua were arrested with 16.750kg of Indian hemp on Nov. 30 when NDLEA operatives raided a settlement opposite Gate 4 of the University of Maiduguri.
He added that the three other students, Ekene Asher, Daniel Alkali and Emmanuel Smooth are undergraduates of AUN. They were arrested on Dec. 2.
Babafemi explained that their arrest followed their receipt of “Loud’’ a very strong variant of Indian hemp ordered by Asher.
“Equally, ThankGod Danladi who completed a jail term in October was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 1 with 67 kilograms of Indian hemp in a raid in Taraba.
Also on Dec. 2, NDLEA operatives intercepted a motorised concrete mixer truck used to conceal 2000.6kg of Indian hemp loaded at Ogbese, Ondo State.

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Enugu Rehabilitates Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, on Wednesday, inspected the ongoing comprehensive overhaul of the pitch of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu,  to bring the stadium at par with international standard.
It would be recalled that the Gov. Ugwuanyi administration recently awarded contract for the upgrade of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium pitch with the installation of state-of-the-art turf in line with the requirements of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Licensing Regulation on sports infrastructure and facilities.
Speaking during the inspection, the State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon. Manfred Nzekwe, who led Gov. Ugwuanyi to the site, disclosed that the discarded turf was installed 12 years ago, precisely in 2009 and has not been changed since then until the current intervention by the present administration in Enugu State.
Hon. Nzekwe pointed out that, although the state government had been maintaining the pitch and other infrastructure at the Stadium, prior to commencement of the upgrade, Gov. Ugwuanyi administration decided to install a new pitch as part of its concerted efforts at upgrading the stadium to international standard.
The Sports Commissioner added that there had been a yearly routine maintenance of the turf and other sports facilities in the stadium since the inception of the present administration, commending Gov. Ugwuanyi for his commitment to youth empowerment and sports development in the state.
Reacting, a cross section of jubilant sports enthusiasts who witnessed the governor’s inspection tour of the ongoing works at the stadium applauded him for the remarkable intervention and other efforts of his administration in repositioning the sports sector in the state.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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Firm Inaugurates 100-Tonne LPG Plant In Katsina

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A 100-tonne Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) plant constructed by the Buterny Energy Company was inaugurated on Saturday in Katsina.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylvia, during the launch said the plant was coming at the time several projects that would address gas availability, accessibility and affordability in the country were being put in place.
Sylvia, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr. Sani Gwarzo, added that the pricing of gas was currently a major threat to the availability and affordability of the fuel in Nigeria.
“The Federal Government was leveraging the gas pricing framework and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gas development fund to create an appropriate funding model to support off-take of the gas, especially among vulnerable groups.
“I cannot complete this speech without touching on pricing which is a major threat to gas affordability and gas penetration.
“It is, therefore, expected that the economy of Katsina State and indeed the North-West and the whole of Nigeria will benefit from socio-economic spin ups associated with the gas value chain,” he said.
The minister added that smaller countries with less gas reserves than Nigeria such as Kuwait have higher per capita consumption of gas due to their investment in gas infrastructure.
He urged Butane Energy to make their plant a role model of LPG depots by deploying technology to drive market penetration, creation of financial instruments to incentivize off-take of its bottled gas.
“And also investment in human capital development to attract and retain a resilient workforce and operation in a globally acceptable and responsible manner,” he said.
Butane Energy Chair, Alhaji Isah Inuwa, said the aspiration of the company under the first phase of investment programme was to have five plants in the Northern Nigeria.
“Kano will have 180 metric tons, in Bauchi, 120 metric tons, in Abuja, 180 metric tons and in Kaduna, 180 metric tons.
“Today, we have finished the designs of Kaduna and Bauchi plants and by God’s grace, we are going through the contracting processes between December and January, and it is our hope that before the end of January, construction work will start.
“By April, we will start Kano and Bauchi plants with a combined tonnage of 360.
“Our expectation is that by September 2022, we will have completed five plants with a total capacity of 820 metric tons and we will have the capacity to process 9,200 12.5kg cylinders per eight hour shift per day.
“We would have invested nearly N3 billion by the end of the first phase of our development programme. We expect annual gross revenue of these five plants to be more than N20 billion.”

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