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Court Defers Ruling On UCTH N68m Isolation Centre Contract Debt

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A High Court sitting in Calabar has deferred ruling on a motion concerning the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, isolation centre contract valued at N68million.
Our correspondent reports that the management of UCTH and the contractor of the Isolation Centre had been engaged in a legal battle in a Suit No.HC/316/2020 since last year.
Litigations arose following a contract dispute between Obi Achara (the claimant) and the management of UCTH (respondents) over the construction of a Covid-19 Isolation Centre at the Teaching Hospital.
The contract for the construction of an Isolation Centre in the institution was completed and handed over to the hospital just as the latter had made some payments in that regard before the settlement process broke down.
At the commencement of the case, the claimant had presented 16 exhibits against the defendants to back up his claims before closing its case, while the defendant applied for a motion to strike out the case.
The court was scheduled to hear the application before the defendant applied for an adjournment of the matter, maintaining that it had a case out of jurisdiction to determine.
Presiding Judge Angela Obi adjourned the matter to July 12, 2021 so as to consider the motion to strike out the case.
Speaking after the adjournment, Eta Akpama of Mba Ukweni Chambers and counsel for the claimant said they have filed their response to the motion but it has not been adopted due to the absence of the defendant.
He said, “They filed a motion to strike out the matter and so the matter was adjourned for ruling but today they have written to the court to adjourn the matter. We have filed our response though it could not be heard today because they claim they have a matter outside jurisdiction.
“I would not want to think that their absence in court today is a delay tactics by the defendant, but that they have given them the benefit of doubt,” he said.
The management of UCTH had in November 2016 awarded a N68million contract to a contractor, Obi Achara Nigeria Ltd and Anor, for construction of a Centre for Emerging Pathogen Research and Management.
However, the management of the hospital failed to meet their own obligation in terms of payment even as the contract was substantially executed with only N7 million paid by the hospital management out of the contract sum.
At the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, the UCTH requested that the centre be handed over them and this was done because of the strategic importance of the centre in the war against the pandemic.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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NYSC Tasks Corps Members On Security

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The 1, 685 corps members deployed to Akwa Ibom State for the one-year national service have been charged to be security conscious and adhere strictly to camp rules and regulations.
Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Fadah, gave the advice during the swearing-in ceremony of 2022 Batch ‘B’, Stream 1 corps members at NYSC Orientation camp, Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai Local Government Area.
Fadah, who was represented by the State Coordinator, Mrs Chinyere Ekwe, cautioned corps members against promoting hatred on social media.
He admonished them to demonstrate a high level of discipline, adding that, “the regimented nature of the camp was intended to instill discipline and build resilience.
“White-collar jobs are no longer available and you should embrace the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), to be self-reliant.
“You are strongly advised to be security conscious at all times and to report any suspicious character or activities around you to the appropriate authorities.
“I implore you to sustain the high level of discipline and enthusiasm you have demonstrated so far, especially by remaining compliant with the camp rules and regulations.”
The director-general urged the corps members to continue to distance themselves from cultism, drug abuse and other social vices.
“I also urge you to avoid using social media for spreading fake news, fueling hatred and other negative purposes.
“Instead, you should deploy the same for the promotion of national unity and development.
“Therefore, I encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunities for self-employment offered through SAED.
“You are expected to choose from any of the skills areas, and make yourselves available for the training, which starts from the orientation camp.
“On our part, management will continue to work with relevant stakeholders for the success of the programme,” Fadah said.
He enjoined corps members to avail themselves of the once-in-a-life-time opportunity by participating actively in all camp activities.
The Director-General appealed for the support of all stakeholders in the call for the establishment of NYSC Trust Fund, which has reached an advanced stage of legislation.
He expressed appreciation for the support of the federal, state, and local governments, as well as security agencies, traditional rulers and other stakeholders for supporting the scheme.
The Tide’s source reports that the highpoint of the event was the administration of the oath of allegiance on the corps members by the Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot, who was represented by Justice Gabriel Ette.

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NDLEA Seizes Illicit Drugs, Arrests 68 Suspects In Bayelsa Community

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The Bayelsa State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement agency (NDLEA) says it has arrested 68 persons suspected to have engaged in sale and addiction to illicit drugs in the state.
The Tide learnt this during a press briefing held by the state command of the agency in Yenagoa, the state capital as part of activities commemorating the 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking which holds officially on Sunday, 26th, June.
In his briefing, the state commander of the NDLEA, Mr Ali Aminu stated that meeting with the press became necessary as according to him, the media serves as a platform to educate as well as enlighten the general public, especially the vulnerable groups on the menace of illicit drug abuse and trafficking.
Ali, who also noted that from the 68 Suspects arrested, the command has successfully convicted eight persons, reiterated the command’s resolve towards getting the state rid-of illegal drugs, reassuring that following the command’s resilience, no fewer than 34.526kg and 630ml of various classes of illicit drugs and substances have also been seized by the command between January and June this year.
He hinted that from January to June, 2022, through constant intelligence-led raids on black spots and on identified drug dealers as well as through continuous patrol operations, the command arrested 57 males and 11 females illicit drug suspects, making it a total of 68 persons so far arrested by the command in the year.
He said while one hectare of cannabis farm was discovered in Oruama (Yiba-ama) Community of the Ogbia Council Area of the state in March, the drug demand reduction unit of the command he stated, has also been assiduously discharging its functions.
The state’s NDLEA helmsman noted that the drug demand reduction unit between January and June,2022 admitted a total of 13 clients, 5 out of the 13 he said, have been successfully treated and discharged, while eight were still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation, revealing also that the unit has successfully counselled a total of 52 arrested persons with a breakdown of males and eight females, respectively.
Ali commended the Chairman/Chief executive officer of the agency, Brig. General Buba Marwa(rtd) for repositioning the agency, saying the chief executive of the agency has brought in a new zeal into the personnel of the agency which has made them rededicated themselves to fighting the scourge of illicit drug abuse and trafficking in the country.
“The national drug law enforcement agency is the lead agency in the war against illicit substance abuse and trafficking. However, the agency cannot win this war alone.
“It’s up to all and sundry, individuals, state governments, NGOs, Schools and religious bodies. Our Sister security agencies and the press too are needed to enable us raise awareness and share information on the cancerous menace of the spectre of illicit substance abuse and trafficking to our persons, immediate environment and nation.
“ It is usually said, ‘if you’re not infected, you’re affected’ “, the NDLEA commander said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Edo Trains Herbalists On Hygiene, Modern Skills

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The Edo State Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues has begun a training for members of the Association of Lunatic Healers in the state.
The Tide’s source reports that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Barbara Osobajo, who declared the training open in Benin, said the participants would be trained on personal and environmental hygiene as well as modern skills for care.
Noting that the Ministry was committed and firmly focused on enhancing the capacity of herbal practitioners, she commended the herbal healers for their passion in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons living with mental illness.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by Mr Sylvester Okeguale, the Director, Rehabilitation Services Department, assured the associaiton of the State Government’s continuous support.
She urged the members to adhere to proper personal hygiene and clean working environment.
In a remark, the State Chairman of the association, Dr Samuel Oghaimeh, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for the training.
Oghaimeh said it would enrich them with contemporary knowledge to improve their practices.
The source reports that the training was facilitated by Mrs Agho Taiwo, Head, Social Welfare Unit, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, and Mrs Felicia Igbinovia, the Social Welfare Officer, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital.

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