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Ondo

The maiden Mare Festival has been won by a 10-year-old boy, Sunday Akinwunmi, in the rocky town of Idare, Ondo State, for climbing 2,000 feed of steep mountain surface with bare hands and feet while professional mountaineers were using ropes and other gadgets.
For this efforts, which the state Governor Olusegun Mimiko, said typified the traits of gallantry and coverage of the average Ondo State youth, the lad was awarded a state-sponsored scholarship upto the university level.
Hundreds of local and international tourists, as well as the local population of Idanre, a town completely surrounded by towering rocky walls, participated in the three-day event.
Packaged as an avenue to make the town a global destination for tourists by the state government in collaboration with mother land Beckons, a tourism consultancy firm, the festival also exhibited the customs and traditions of the people through a carnival of dancing and drumming.

Kaduna

The Guardian correspondent in Kaduna State, Saxne Akhaine has reputedly received a threat to this life via phone number 08132283200.
The text message which was received at exactly 8.46pm, reads: “if you write rubbish again in this Kaduna you will be missing for ever.”
When Akhaine put a call to the phone number someone who referred to himself as driver to Director-General, Media and Publicity to the Kaduna State Governor, Uma Sani, said: “Yes, my oga (boss) is not around now, he left his phone in the car. But I will deliver your message and he will call you back.”
Not satisfied with this response, Akhaine called Sani on his official phone number to protest the text message.

Ekiti

Ekiti State Government has terminated the contract for the reconstruction of River Ele Bridge at Itapaji Ekiti over the failure of the contractor to commence work on the project.
The Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr Taiwo Olatunbosun, who made this known at the weekend, said the contract was awarded to Messers Kopek Construction Limited since October 2008, adding that the failure of the firm to commence work on the project left the state government with no alternative but to terminate the contract.
He said the Segun Oni-led administration would not deviate from its policy of transparency, accountability and due process towards ensuring that public funds are judiciously spent. He said the contract would soon be re-awarded to another contractor.
The Information Commissioner also disclosed that the government has blacklisted a construction company, Jobitrade Investment Limited, over its handling of the rehabilitation of the Teaching Hospital Theatre building in Ado-Ekiti in 2008.

Makurdi

To tackle the rot in the education sector in Benue State, the stakeholders have advised that all public schools, which were taken over by the State government, be returned to their original owners.
At a press conference during the weekend after the stakeholders’ meeting at the Government House, Makurdi, the Commissioner for Education, Mr Benjamin Ashaver, said that the leaders, realising the rot in the education sector, have resolved that it is in the best interest of the state that the schools be returned to their owners.
He said: “The general consensus at the stakeholders’ meeting is that the schools be returned to their owners. However, the government will continue to grant aid to these schools to build up the education base of the state.”
According to him, the state government will send a bill to the House of Assembly on the resolution of the stakeholders so that a legal framework could be established for the return of the schools to their origional owners in the interest of the state.

Ogun

The Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, at the weekend appealed to all residents of Ijebu-Ife who fled the town during the December 5 mayhem to return home as peace had returned to the town.
Oba Adetona assured that adequate security arrangement has been put in place to protect lives and property.
Meanwhile, the chairman of Ijebu-East Local Council, Tunde Oladunjoye, may appear before the judicial panel of enquiries set up to investigate the circumstances that led to the crisis. He had earlier expressed his lack of confidence in the three members.
The Awujale, who spoke through the Ebumawe of Ago-Iwoye, described the incident as not only unfortunate but an embarrassment to the Yoruba race.

Lagos

Petroleum products marketers across the country appear to have finally gone ahead of the Federal Government to commence a full blown deregulation of the downstream sector as price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) popularly called petrol has gone to an all time high of N150.00 a litre, even as some major oil marketers have also started a strategic sale of petrol at black market prices right inside their station.
Black market price appears to have shot astronomically high as investigation reveals that a litre of fuel in the black market now sells for as high as N450.00, with over 75 per cent of the petrol stations on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway shut to travelLers and other road users as they claim not to have any product.

FCT

The Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyeli has said that everything is being done to ensure that Anambra governorship election in February 2010 is hitch free.
The minister who gave the assurance at the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) forum in Abuja said “we need to come together and vote and let our votes be counted, so that we will be happy at the end for who ever emerges as the peoples choice. Until that happens, Anambra will continue to be in the news negatively.”
She said further, “Once we have a free and credible election, select somebody of our choice, feel very happy about our leader in Anambra State, even kidnapping will go down.

Ondo

Akure Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State weekend gave scholarship award till university level to a 10-year old boy, Sunday Akinwumu for his skill in climbing over 2,000 feet with his bare hands and feet.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the year’s Mare Festival, the governor said the boy was identified and rewarded as he climbed a 2,000 feet mountain with bare hands and feet while the professionals used ropes and other equipment. He pledged to harness all the potentials of the state to fast track its development.
Dr Mimiko said the festival was about the economic development of the people of the state. According to him, “the idea behind the festival, which featured mountain climbing, was to attract local and foreign tourists to the state.

Plateau

Governor Jonah Tang of Plateau State is banking on the quick recovery of President Umar Yar-Adua or a favourable outcome of the suit challenging the dissolution of the executive of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, by the national working committee, NWC, of the party to regain control of its machinery in the state.
The Tide gathered that following the resolution of the NWC to get the governor to work with the Chief Abu King Shuluwa-led Caretaker Committee it set up for the state, a position Jang is uncomfortable with.
It was learnt that a recent meeting between Jang and members of the NWC held a day to the recent National Executive Committee meeting of the party ended in a deadlock as the governor reportedly vowed not to work with the Caretaker Committee.

Kwara

Chairman, Governors’ Forum in Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has lamented the persisting fuel scarcity across the country, attributing the hardship to the uncertainty trailing the proposed deregulation policy of the federal government.
In effect Saraki who is also the Kwara State governor, tasked the government and other stakeholders, particularly labour to come up with the way forward. He said the sooner this is done, the earlier the current fuel crisis would come to an end.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin on the state of the nation to mark his 47th birthday, Governor Saraki said: “For now, it is like somebody who is in the middle of the stream, he has departed the shore and did not reach the destination, so during that period, definitely, you will see a lot of challenges.”

Bauchi

About 3,000 applicants turned up in the current senior cadre recruitment into the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, in Bauchi State.
This was disclosed by the State Commandant of NSCDC, Haruna Shehu of the 33 Artillery Brigade, Bauchi, venue of the recruitment exercise, saying 615 candidates were short listed in the senior cadre in the state.
Shehu said, of the over 11,000 who put in their application in the junior cadre, 4,840 were shot-listed.
According to him, only those short-listed were eligible to participate in the recruitment exercise, adding that the exercise, in the state was smooth and hitch-free.
He commended security agencies such as the army, FRSC and the state government who assisted to ensure that the exercise was smooth.

Oyo

Fuel scarcity which resurfaced last week in Ibadan has continued unabated as motorists and residents in the city spend endless hours at few filling stations that dispensed the products. Already, some independent marketers in some parts of the city have adjusted their pump price from the official N65 to N70 per litre.
But The Tide investigations revealed that all of them now sell at N100 per litre. Outlets visited by our reporter include Sabo, Mokola, Samgo, Bodija U.I. Ring Road, Elerele Iyagnaku, Total Garden and others.
The major marketers that sold the products at the official pump price of N65 collected extra charges from customers. The money they collected ranges from N200-N500 depending on the litres of fuel brought. When asked why they sold at such exorbitant prices, most of them who cared to answer said they bought above the official pump price at the depot where they lifted the fuel.
The Tide gathered that many filling stations in the city were shut. Though they claimed that they had run out of supply, investigation revealed that they preferred to sell either early in the morning between 6am and 7am or late in the evenings.
The refusal of the filling station to dispense the products has led to emergence of black market operators along Major roads in the city who now sell a four-litre keg for N600 and above. It was learnt that these illegal sellers of the products usually go to the filling stations at mid-night to buy the product.
Already, the scarcity of the product has taken its toll on the vehicular and human movement in the sprawling city.
Few vehicles now ply the roads, while the commercial drivers have capitalised on the scarcity to hike their fares.

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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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