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.
CILT Holds Summit In Oct
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation (CILT), Nigeria, is billed to hold its summit from October 11 to 12, at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos.
The summit, which is aimed at promoting Nigeria’s Transport and Logistics Sector, is expected to bring together global transport veterans, lawyers, shipbuilders, bankers, academics, and consultants to discuss latest issues in the logistics and transport sector.
It will focus on logistics and transportation chains perspective with renowned experts presenting papers.
Chairman of the event’s planning committee, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku, revealed this much during a press briefing in Lagos, saying the event would correct Nigeria’s poor logistics performance index (LPI).
According to Prof. Oyesiku, the summit would have robust participation of transport experts from the academics to veterans in operations as quality research papers and thematic sessions will be held.
The conference themed; “Sustainable Innovations in Global Logistics and Transport”, takes into cognisance the fact that Nigeria’s logistics and transport sector is plagued by a myraid of challenges, Oyesiku said.
“The conference will comprise various technical sessions where subject-matter experts will lead conversations primarily aimed at interrogating the future of logistics and transport operations in Nigeria, especially within the context of a rapidly changing service environment, technological innovations and extensive planning dynamics that characterise logistics, transport and supply chain at the present time”, he said.
The Chairman, who was the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education, stressed that the conference will attract scores of delegates from within and outside Nigeria, including business leaders, the academia and policy makers.
“This conference will encourage multidisciplinary networks and will provide platforms for academics and professionals to identify and examine the challenges, as well as proffer effective solutions for national logistics and transport operations,” he said.
He observed that LPI of nations is now the yardstick for measuring their economic resilience and competitiveness, noting that nations where LPIs are weak have also been characterised by vulnerable economies with high business risks.
The event will also feature exhibitions of transportation and logistics products from cognate industries and sectors, while availing an opportunity for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for industry stakeholders and providing an excellent platform for networking.
By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
Air Transportation Demand Increases By 103.6% -IATA
The world’s apex transport body, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), has said the global air transportation demand has tremendously increased as at June this year.
The global transportation organisation said passenger data for June 2022 has shown that the recovery in air travel remains strong with a 103.6 per cent rise.
According to the IATA’s research data, which was made available to aviation correspondents, the total traffic in June 2022, which was measured in revenue passenger kilometers, was up 76.2 per cent compared to June 2021.
The report stated that the increase was primarily propelled by the ongoing strong recovery in international traffic in the air transportation.
“Globally, the demand for air transport traffic is now at 70.8 per cent of pre-crisis levels, in the latest research findings”, IATA report stated.
According to the data report, strong improvements in most markets, combined with the easing of some Omicron-related lockdown restrictions in the Chinese domestic market, contributed to the increase in domestic traffic for June 2022, which is reported to be up 5.2 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year.
From the report, total domestic traffic for June 2022 was at 81.4 per cent, as compared to that of the June 2019 level.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said, “Demand for air travel remains strong. After two years of lockdowns and border restrictions, and people are taking advantage of the freedom to travel wherever they can.”
By: Corlins Walter
Ticket Racketeers, Touts Resurface In PH Airport
Flight ticket racketeers, otherwise referred to as touts and fraudsters, that were once flushed out of the Port Harcourt International Airport, have resurfaced with their nefarious activities.
The Tide had initially reported their unwholesome activities when they emerged sometimes last year, which was tackled by the airport’s management.
The phenomenon has taken another bold dimension, as this group of persons carry out their activities more openly right in front of the departure terminal of the domestic wing of the airport.
The Tide observed that some of the old faces known in the act have come back with new recruits. Their slogan has been “I have come to hustle at the airport”.
They usually lead travellers who are not convasant with airport operations away to extort money from them on flimsy issues.
They will, at the first instance, approach their potential victim(s) on the pretence that they will assist in getting travel documents like the boarding pass from the airline, and would make the passenger feel relaxed in the nearby fast food joint, while they make contact with their airline partners for the documents.
Their target is usually to extort the ignorant passenger, as various charges will be hipped on him, like COVID-19 charge, agent fee, and boarding pass charges, which are not official charges of the airline.
The Tide further observed that some innocent passengers who got into their trap sometimes missed or nearly missed their flights, mostly because of argument that would ensue over the alien charges.
When they have succeeded, the money will be shared among them, and the circle continues till the end of the day, after which each of them likely goes home with a reasonable sum.
One of them, fondly called ‘Ime’, who was apprehended by Air-force personnel after he hijacked the sum of N50,000 given to them and ran into the bush, recently, had confessed that he was doing such to hustle for a living.
Although The Tide gathered that his mobile hand-set and other belongings were seised by the Air-force personnel, the said lme was still seen parading himself at the airport.
Meanwhile, the Head of Corporate Affairs at the airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode, could not be reached at the time of filing this report, as he was said to be away for other engagements.
By: Corlins Walter
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