Police Nab Suspected Vandals Of Electricity Transformer In Abia

power-cable-vandalsPolice have arrested some persons suspected to have vandalised transformers of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company Sub-Station in Abia State.

The Abia State Police Command said the suspects vandalised a facility at Omoba in Isilangwa South Local Government Area of Abia State.

According to the command, intensified anti-crime campaign with renewed vigour aimed to ridding the state of criminals led to the arrest of the suspected criminals.

About 20 suspects were paraded at the Police Headquarters in Bende Road, Umuahia.

Part of the figure were other suspects involved in various crime – armed robbery, fraud, faking and forging of vehicle license, proof of ownership and other sensitive government documents amongst others.

Also among them were four suspected cultist of Covenant Polytechnic, Aba, who are all final year students pursuing a National Diploma.

The police said that all the suspects have confessed to the crime.

Items recovered from them include, one locally made double barrel shortgun, two live cartridges, one machete, two rolls of heavy armoured cables worth thousands of Naira and two jacks as well as some substance suspected to be cocaine.

One of the suspects, Prince Okoroafor, an indigene of Amaekpu ,Ohafia and a car washer at Aba, claimed that it was his first attempt at vandalising government’s installation.

He also said that he was lured into the business by a friend – an indigene of Omoba where the heavy armoured cables were stolen – but was unaware that his friend was notorious for vandalising government’s infrastructure.

”My friend called me to escort him to his village that he has a business for us but I did not know that it involved vandalising, as soon as I got close to the armoured cable with the okada man, the villagers quickly surrounded us and I looked around but my friend was gone,” he told reporters.

His friend is currently on the police list as a wanted criminal and all efforts are being put in place to track him down and arrest him for the crime.

The Police Commissioner in the State, Adeleye Oyebade, said that the strategies put in place by his management team in combating crime yielded the desired results.

He told reporters that the Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers had been mandated to explore intelligence-led policing, community policing and involvement of Eminent People’s Forum in tackling crime.

These efforts, according to the Commissioner of Police, require the involvement of citizens and would assist to chase away the criminals from the state.

He warned hoodlums to stay clear, as all the exit and entry points to the state were secure, with officers strategically positioned to checkmate any criminal activity.

Once Flourishing Maiduguri Railway Terminal Now In Ruins

borno-railway-in-ruinsThe once flourishing railway terminal of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, now lies in ruins after years of closure.

Residents recount the good old days when trains were the backbone of their local economy.

The railway terminal and the abandoned trains have now been overgrown by grasses while internally displaced persons occupy some parts.

A middle aged widow of a retired railway worker says life was a lot easier in the days when the railway transport was functional.

railway-borno-abandoned
Coaches of a train has been abandoned for years

The railway transportation came with several business opportunities for locals and provided able bodied young men with gainful employment culminating into the creation of a railway village.

It was a major means of transportation in Nigeria before poor maintenance culture and lack of attention to the sector brought it to an almost comatose situation.

Few meters away from the office terminal lies the rubbles of the birthplace of Boko Haram under the leadership of the late Muhammad Yusuf, a beneficiary of the railway himself.

Many idle youths living in the area were reportedly lured and recruited by the group, according to the community leader who recounts his childhood days when everyone was gainfully employed.

The revival of the Kaduna and Gombe State train station gives hope to residents of Maiduguri yearning for the reopening of their own train station.

At the moment,the Nigerian government is looking at concessioning the railways

It has opened negotiation with GE to concession the Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Bauchi, Gombe and even Borno among others, the Minister in charge of the sector told Channels Television.

The Minister of Transport, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, hopes the concession will be concluded by March 2017.

tain-in-lagos-nigeria

While these train coaches are abandoned in northern Borno, in the southwest region, Lagos State is Nigeria’s commercial nerve and train coaches appear not to be enough for train users.

Daily, users of train, most of whom have paid for tickets but could not get a place to sit, resort to hanging on the body or climbing to the top, a situation that calls for government’s quick intervention in the sector that holds huge potential of serving as an alternative and reliable means of transportation in Nigeria.

Reps Probe Privatisation And Concession of Railway Lines

Railway corporation, Train serviceThe House of Representatives is to investigate if the concession of assets of the Nigeria Railways Corporation to General Electric violates the county’s privatisation laws.

In a motion considered during Tuesday’s plenary, the lawmakers queried what they described as an attempt by the Federal Executive Council to concession the Western (Lagos-Kano) and Eastern (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) rail lines, to General Electric, without recourse to the Bureau of Public Enterprises, and privatisation regulations.

The move to investigate the concession agreement with GE comes after a motion raised by Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.

The lawmakers said the action of the FEC is a part of attempts to pander to certain interests who want to see the nation’s core assets sold off and alleged that the move contravenes the Public Enterprises (Privatization and Commercialization) Act, 1999.

ahmed_yerima
Ahmed Yerima heads the house committee on privatisation

The chairman of the House committee on Privatization, Yerima Ahmed, said by engaging the American firm, FEC had usurped the functions of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the National Council on Privatisation.

“Section 11 (j) outlines the procedures for privatisation; there are four sections to be followed by the BPE and the agency is not being carried along.

“The NCP has not been inaugurated, and in its absence, the BPE is the secretariat for any privatisation.” He said

The chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations, Nnenna Ukeje, said it is incomprehensible how such concession or privatization agreement would be deemed legal when the National Economic Stimulus Bill is yet to be signed into law.

Honourable Ukeje says "we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency."
Honourable Ukeje says “we cannot sacrifice our laws, our processes on the altar of expediency.”

The house committee on privatisation was directed to investigate the matter and report back to the house in four weeks.

Debated Concession

After the last Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja, the Minister for Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi announced that the council has approved a negotiation with GE, towards contracting the railways across Nigeria.

‎He said the narrow gauge railways to be contracted would to a great extent, assist the agriculture and mining ministries in the transportation of extracted minerals.

One of them is the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway which would include: Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe and Bauchi to Borno.

The other is the Lagos-Kano railway, which would also comprise: Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua and Zaria to Kaura Namoda.

The Transportation Minister says the railways to be rehabilitated by GE will come at no cost to the government.

FEC Approves 30bn Naira For Mining, Okays Railway Concession

FEC Approves 30bn Naira For Mining, Okays Railway ConcessionThe Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved 30 billion Naira intervention fund for mining exploration in Nigeria.

The Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, gave the figure at the end of the FEC meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Dr. Fayemi, alongside his counterparts at the Information and Transportation Ministries, Mr Lai Mohammed and Mr Rotimi Amaechi, briefed journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

The Council, he said, stressed the importance of inter-ministerial coordination and for the ministry to work with the ministries of transportation; power, works and housing; as well as environment on safer mining practices.

The Minister added that the mining ministry would also work with that of health, ‎to help build a multi-sectoral focus on mining and also encourage private sector investment.

On his part, Mr Amaechi hinted that the Council approved a negotiation with General Electric (GE), towards contracting the railways across Nigeria.

‎He said the narrow gauge railways to be contracted would to a great extent, assist the agriculture and mining ministries in the transportation of extracted minerals.

The Transportation Minister further identified the railways to be rehabilitated at no cost to the government.

One of them is the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway which would include: Port Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Makurdi, Jos, Gombe and Bauchi to Borno.

The other is the Lagos-Kano railway, which would also comprise: Lagos, Abeokuta, Ibadan, ‎Ilorin, Kano, Funtua and Zaria to Kaura Namoda.

Ariaria Market: Traders Vow To Resist Alleged Planned Demolition By Government

Ariatia_MarketTraders at Ariaria International Market, Aba, Southeast Nigeria have raised an alarm over the alleged planned demolition of the market by the Abia State government.

The traders also described the action as unnecessary while calling on the government to focus on fixing the deplorable roads as well as upgrade facility in the markets.

The Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Traders, Ariaria International Market, Mr Michael Anibogu, during a press briefing at Aba, stated that the traders would resist any attempt by the committee set up by government to demolish their shops because it is their only source of income.

However, in a swift reaction, the Chairman, Abia State Market Development Committee, Solomon Wigwe, disclosed that the government has no intention to demolish the market, but noted that the section to be brought down include the illegal structures erected on the walk ways and drainages.

He said that the exercise would be carried out in phases and aimed to develop the existing markets to an enviable standard.

Traders Criticise Planned Demolition Of Market In Abia

Ariaria International Market-Traders-AbiaTraders at the Ariaria International Market in Aba have raised alarm over the alleged planned demolition of the market by the Abia State government in southeast Nigeria.

The market men and women described the purported act as an exercise in futility and called on the government to focus on fixing the deplorable roads and upgrade the facility in the markets.

During a press briefing in Aba on Monday, the Chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Traders in the market, Mr Michael Anibogu, condemned the alleged plan, saying that the market was their only source of income and gratuity.

He maintained that the traders would resist any attempt by the committee set up by government to demolish their shops.

In his reaction, the Chairman of the Abia State Market Development Committee, Solomon Wigwe, clarified that the state government had no intention to demolish the market.

He, however, explained that some sections were marked for demolition.

According to him, the sections to be brought down were the illegal structures erected on the walk ways and drainage.

Wigwe said that the exercise would be carried out in phases and aimed to develop the existing markets to an enviable standard.

Abia, South Korea In Trade And Agriculture Partnership

Abia-South-Korea-Agriculture-TradeThe Abia State government and South Korea Republic are considering a partnership in agriculture and small and medium scale industries.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu made the plan known on Friday after talks with the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Noh Kyu Duk, at the Government House in Umuahia, the capital of Abia State.

He said that the focus was to enhance trade and commerce especially in Aba which had about 15 markets.

The Governor added that there were at least 40,000 shoemakers and garment manufacturers in Aba and stressed the need to automate the manufacturing process to make consistent quality within a short period.

He also solicited for equipment and expertise from South Korea.

Governor Ikpeazu expressed hope that the plan would enhance a free trade zone, as efforts were being made to fix Ariaria International Market which was the third largest market in West Africa and make it an all season market.

In his response, Mr Noh Kyu said his mission was to enhance bilateral relations between Nigeria and South Korea, stressing that South Korea had a lot to offer in agriculture, leather and textile industries among other areas.

He added that Abia State was important because of the huge trade and economic activities that take place in the state while and invited a delegation from the state led by Governor Ikpeazu to visit South Korea to see areas of interest especially the rural agriculture settlement.

Army Arrests Notorious Kidnapping Gang In Abia

Kidnapping GangMen of the 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, have arrested a notorious kidnapping gang which has been operating between Aba and Ohafia in Abia State.

The soldiers also rescued their victim who is currently receiving treatment in an undisclosed medical facility.

Items recovered from the suspects include two AK-47 rifles, loaded with 124 rounds ammunition, and cash up to about 5,490,000 Naira amongst others.

According to the Brigade Public Relation Officer, Major Sidney Mbaneme, the victim had already paid the sum of six million Naira demanded by his abductors but was shot on the leg when he identified one of them.

Major Sidney warned criminals and notorious gangsters to stay away from the state because the brigade is leaving no stone unturned to flush them out.

He urged all residents of the state to be vigilant and report any suspicious character within their domain.

Nigerian Premier League: Warri Wolves Set For 2016

Warri WolvesThe management of Warri Wolves FC has commenced preparation for its participation in this year’s Nigerian Premier League (NPL).

Unveiling 14 new players for the season formed part of its preparation, amidst training and rehabilitation of the Warri stadium in Delta State.

Some of the newly unveiled players, Oladele Ajiboye and King Osange, also expressed optimisms that the football club would achieve great feat in the 2016 edition of the NPL.

Warri Wolves finished second in the just concluded GLO Premier League behind Enyimba FC of Aba.

In another development, the Delta Force team have come back after a long absence from the league.

Playing in the second division of the league for the first time, they have promised to do their best to get to the NPL.

The team’s coach, Napolion Aloma, appealed to the government for further assistance to help them achieve their goals.

IPMAN Urges F.G To Intervene In Lingering Fuel Crisis

fuel-petrolThe independent petroleum marketers in Aba have appealed to the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the lingering fuel crisis in the Southeast or there will be a total shut down of petrol stations in the zone.

Briefing newsmen after a meeting with members of the association from the Aba and Owerri unit, the IPMAN chairman in Aba unit, Bobby Eberechidick, said that tank farm owners have continued to sell petrol above the officially approved price to marketers.

He insisted that it would be unfair on the marketers if they sell at government’s approved price of 86.50 Naira when they buy at very high prices from private tank farms.

He appealed to Federal Government through the PPMC to make petroleum products available to marketers in the zone to enable them buy and sell at the government approved price.

Abia DPR Urges Marketers To Sell Fuel At Government Approved Price

DPRThe Department of Petroleum Regulation has issued an ultimatum to Independent Marketers in Aba to comply with the government’s directives of selling petrol at 86 Naira 50 Kobo or face the consequences.

While on monitoring to some petrol stations in Umuahia, Abia State capital on Wednesday, the Operation Controller in Aba, Mr Paschal Ezemmadu, hinted that the inability of the marketers to provide the officials with evidence of payment, which would enable them to trace inconsistency in the price at point of purchase, would no longer be condoled.

He was on the monitoring exercise with a team of the Department of State Security (DSS) and Pipeline and Product Marketing Company (PPMC).

According to Mr Ezemmadu, their job is to regulate prices and ensure compliance. He warned that any marketer that defaults, would be sanctioned and their pump price adjusted.

The DPR has provided the necessary avenue that includes filling coupons that would enable them trace those selling the PMS at the private depot above government price.

Meanwhile, some petrol stations had been sealed for selling above government approved pump price.

Persons Protesting Appeal Court Ruling Block Roads In Abia

abiaThe People of Ukwa Ngwa from Abia South and Central local councils are protesting against the judgment of the Appeal Court that upturned the election of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and disfranchised three local government areas.

The protesters on Saturday carried placards with different inscriptions. Some read: “We have confidence in the Supreme Court”, “Where in Nigeria has Judiciary disenfranchised voters from three different local government areas”?

Meanwhile, Security personnel were on Standby to forestall any break down of law and order.

The protesters were at Ntigha Junction and Umuika in Isiala Ngwa, Osisoma Ngwa, Ariaria Market Junction in Aba as well as Ugwunagbo, restricting vehicular movement and causing a major gridlock on the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway to express their displeasure with the ruling of the Appeal Court.

While the motorists bear the brunt of enduring the slow movement of vehicles, protesters carry their placards about, chanting songs and appealing for the reversal of the judgment which they said was undemocratic. “Every vote count in the election,” they claimed.

To ensure that the youths follow the line of order, some of the elders of Ukwa Ngwa, who were among the protesters, hinted that decision of the Appeal Court to cancel votes of electorates was unwarranted and called on the Supreme Court to critically look into the matter.