Indoor Sports Hall Collapses In Calabar

A major disaster which would have claimed lives and left many severely injured was averted in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, when an uncompleted multipurpose indoor sports hall at the U. J. Esuene Sports Stadium collapsed.

The incident happened at a time when the children’s competition taking place in the stadium was suspended to observe the Easter Holiday as more than 2000 children would have been crushed to death.

The structure was supposed to be one of the facilities to host the National Sports Festival by the State, which was awarded for 14 million Dollars.

Reacting on the unfortunate development, Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Mr Orok Duke, blamed the incident on the Contractor who besides not completing the job after being fully paid 14 million Dollars upfront, still used substandard materials.

The indoor Sport hall Chairman said, the stadium was awarded by the immediate past administration and has been under construction for over two years.

“What I have discovered is that the contractors to this project have used substandard materials and it is showing because this structure has been here for not more than three years but what we should note is that this structure was erected before the advent of Prof Ben Ayade’s government.

“And in keeping with our policy of trying to reposition sports, I had asked for permission to go after the contractor, but my principal, the governor had said he does not want to be distracted. We should cut our losses and move on because he was still focusing on hosting the National Sports Festival.

“The most frightening thing is the discovery of these substandard materials which means this was a tragedy waiting to happen.

“If it hadn’t happened now, maybe it would have happened when we had a full house with a lot of athletes.

“Being Good Friday, I can say that God just intervened because a lot of people would have been killed, especially now lots of children come to the stadium. This structure was supposed to be here for over 200 years. So we are really stunned about this development.

“The original design of the indoor sports hall had two ovals. So money was given for two ovals, but he started work on one and could not even complete it. Even at that, substandard materials were still used. It is only in Cross River that sundry contractors would walk in, cheat us and walk away without anyone going after them. It is sad for us”, Mr Duke said.

Mr Duke further called on relevant agencies to thoroughly look into the matter and act accordingly in order to serve as a deterrent.

7,000 Women Get Free Cancer Screening In Cross River

Cancer screening in Cross River stateAt least 7,000 women across the 18 local government areas of Cross River State have benefited from free breast screening.

It was a pink Tuesday in Calabar, the state capital as the breast cancer awareness was flagged off.

Scores of women and some men marched through the streets to educate residents on the need to prevent and control the disease that has killed thousands owing to late detection.

Children were not also left out as they danced to music while the older ones handed informative fliers to the people of the state.

Mammograms and ultrasound scans were carried out to detect and immediately treat any cancers found in the women.

A public health practitioner, Dr. Betta Edu, underscored the importance of examination even in the absence of symptoms.

Face Reality

A cancer specialist, Clement Sunday, also stressed that a high percentage of cancer deaths could be avoided if detected early and by modifying risk factors such as unhealthy diets.

“There are people who still live in self-denial that cancer does not exist. That has to change.

“People need to wake up and face the reality because if you don’t acknowledge a problem, it might be very difficult to fight that problem.

“The recent study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that about 100,000 people die of cancer every year in Nigeria,” he said.

The event was part of activities to mark the World Breast Cancer Day which is commemorated in solidarity with people who have lost their loved ones to cancer and those currently battling the deadly disease.

Avert Unnecessary Deaths

There were also activities in Ogun state, southwest Nigeria, where the wife of State Governor, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, donated an ultra-modern cancer centre each at the general hospital in Abeokuta and Sango, as well as the Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital in Sagamu area of the state.

For her, this was in a bid to avert unnecessary deaths as a result of cancer.

Mrs Amosun said that the development would enhance easy access to treatment against cervical and breast cancer by indigent women in Ogun State.

She expressed concern about the pandemic which had led to unnecessary deaths in the state and across the country.

The first lady further tasked stakeholders to take immediate and proactive measures in increasing awareness and treatment against the deadly disease.


APC Chieftain Commends Buhari For Niger Delta Development

Buhari, Niger Delta, APCPresident Muhammadu Buhari has been commended for the spate of development ongoing in Nigeria’s South-south region.

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Edet Umo, believes the gesture is the right step towards the development of the nation.

Mr Umo gave the commendation on Thursday in Calabar, the Cross River State capital when he received some APC stalwarts from Odukpani Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

He said the region was happy with the plans mapped out by the Buhari-led administration in the area of railway and road construction, aimed at curtailing youth restiveness and opening up more development for the Niger Delta people.

The APC chieftain noted that once there was visible development in any society, crime rate would be minimal as development tends to open doors of opportunities to engage the people.

Speaking on the development of the Odukpani Calabar-Itu road, he expressed hope that food would be easily transported, especially as Odukpani LGA was the main supplier of food within Nigeria’s Southsouth and southeast region.

Retirees In Calabar Protest Non-Payment Of Gratuity

kogi_election_protest-300x181Over one hundred retirees in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital are demanding for the immediate payment of their gratuity which has not been paid for the past five years.

The retirees in a peaceful protest to the governor’s office carried placards with inscriptions like; we are demanding for the right payment of our gratuity, Retirees are dying of hunger and neglect.

Other placards read; Pay us our gratuity so we can access medical attention, why have we been reduced to and forced to become beggars and borrowers’, why?.

Spokesperson of the aggrieved retirees, Pastor Joshua Idang said that from 2011
till date, more than ninety percent of the state retirees have not been paid their gratuity, which has through these years subjected them and their families to untold hardship.

He disclosed that, several efforts made by the retirees to attract governments attention through these past years has proved abortive and called on the Ayade-led government to see to their plight by ordering their payment.

Addressing the retirees, Head of Service, Ekpenyong Henshaw says governments is not aware of their predicaments and assured them of positive results from the peaceful protest.

NSCDC Parades Suspected Oil Bunkerer In Cross River

PIB0OIL bunkerers- NSCDCThe Cross River State Command of the Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has paraded a suspected oil bunkerer with over 100 drums out of which, 70 contained AGO, pumping machine for bunkery, as well as other exhibits.

The suspect, Louis Ekwuazi, who hails from Eziagwu Local Government Area of Enugu State was arrested at Beach in Calabar South Local Government Area of the state by operatives of Sector 3 Operation Pulo Shield, following a raid on the area.

He was paraded shortly after being handed over to the NSCDC by the military at the State Command in Calabar, Cross River State capital.

The Civil Defense State Commandant, Dayo Adesuyi, commended the team for the show of collaboration towards ensuring that the state is a safe haven devoid of bunkering activities.

He sued for the continuous support of other security agencies, residents in the state, especially those in the creeks for timely report of criminals, engaged in such illegality.

The suspect, who said that he was a drum dealer in Cameroon, claimed that he purchased the product from the high sea in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Mr Adesuyi promised to ensure that the law takes its cause as soon as investigations are concluded.

Chinese Auto Firm To Set Up Assembly Plant In Calabar

CalabarA Chinese truck manufacturing company, SINO Truck of China, has completed arrangements to establish an assembly plant in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The company’s Head of African Division, John Wang, disclosed this during a courtesy call to the state governor, Ben Ayade, at his office.

According to Wang, the setting up of the assembly plant would be preceded with the establishment of service centres all over the state for all the company’s trucks in Nigeria.

Wang, citing the peaceful investment climate of the state as one of the motivating factors, said that the project would further create job opportunities for the youths in the state.

Giving a profile of his company, Wang said “SINO Truck is a state owned company and the number one heavy duty truck manufacturing company in China with over 56 years experience, and a good record in truck manufacturing and assembly”.

In his remark, Governor Ayade urged the company to speed up preparations for the auto plant, as all the enabling infrastructural environment like the construction of a deep seaport and a superhighway was being put in place.

Ayade expressed optimism that the investment is viable as both the investors and the local economy would benefit from such investment relationship.

Cross River Governor Proposes 350bn Naira 2016 Budget

ayadeThe Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has proposed a budget of 350 billion Naira for the 2016 fiscal year.

Christened “Budget of Deep Vision”, the 2016 budget, which is Ayade’s first budget as Governor, represents 273.7 per cent increase over the 2015 appropriation bill of the immediate past administration.

According to Governor Ayade, the increment was as a result of expected funds from Foreign Direct Investments and support for his signature projects by the Federal Government.

According to the Governor, the economic sector is to be allocated 179.7 billion Naira, representing 51.41 per cent, Social Services 53.01 billion Naira, representing 15.21 per cent. Regional Development will also take 53.4 billion Naira, representing 15.31 per cent while General Administration will gulp 63.2 billion Naira, representing 18.1 per cent.

The budget was presented to the State House of Assembly in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, on Monday.

While presenting the budget, Governor Ayade disclosed that, on the direct benefit of the budget to the citizenry, his administration was committed to intensifying effort to meet its recurrent obligation by exploring the available vast potentials for Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

The Governor added that in a quest to develop the state, his administration had tried to ensure that the public expenditure structure that prioritises a higher capital budget over recurrent would be maintained.

He explained that the 2016 budget was structured on deliberate principle of capital/recurrent budget ratio of 84 per cent to 16 per cent in order to meet the demands.

Nigeria’s Independence: Governor Ayade Promises Good Governance

Green Police-AyadeAs the countdown towards Nigeria’s Independence gets closer, the Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has reiterated his commitment towards the delivery of good governance to the people of the state.

Ayade made the remark at an interdenominational service at the Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, as part of the events to celebrate Nigeria’s 55th Independence Anniversary.

Speaking on the achievements of the state and country at large towards meaningful governance, Ayade sued for policies that would be more beneficiary to low income earners.

On the issues facing the nation 55 years after independence, the Governor called for a reversal of the privatization policy. According to him, “Nigeria’s present state of development does not support privatization.”

Speaking further, Governor Ayade urged the people of the state to remain focused on his signature projects, no matter how unrealistic it seems, as he remains focused on its deliveries within his first four years in office.

Cross River State Judiciary Workers Suspend Strike

judiciary-jusunThe Cross River State chapter of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) has suspended its over eight months strike embarked upon by its members in the state.

Financial autonomy and independence from judiciary branch of government were some of the demands they had made.

This followed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Cross River State Government and the representative of the body at the Executive Chambers of the Governor’s office in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Speaking shortly after the signing, Governor Ayade assured members of the union that the government would keep its own side of the agreement, promising to set up a committee that would work out modalities of implementing its provisions.

The Governor said that the suspension of the strike and resumption of work by judicial workers in the state would speed up actions that would lead to the decongestion of the prisons and Police cells which had for the past months harbored suspects awaiting trial.

He urged the workers to remain the voice of the voiceless and also keep to their own terms of the agreement.

However, the National Treasurer of JUSUN, Jimoh Musa Alonge, who represented the National President of the union, while announcing the suspension of the strike urged his colleagues to resume work with immediate effect.

Osinbajo Advocates Balanced Judicial System For National Rebirth

osinbajoThe Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has advocated a judicial system in the country where the Rule of Law is applicable to all classes of Nigerians irrespective of status, in order for the country to witness a rebirth in all sectors of her economy.

Osinbajo said this while he was speaking in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, as a Keynote Speaker at the 10th Memorial Anniversary of the First High Court Judge of South Eastern State, Justice Peter Bassey, who happened to be his colleague.

The topic of discourse centered on ”Social Virtues in the Nigerian Renaissance”.

While speaking, Osinbajo expressed regret that over the years, Nigerians have been faced with bad governance without the will power to negotiate and set the standards on which governance must be conducted.

He added that until this is done and corruption is effectively wiped off in all sectors of the Judiciary and Nigerian system as a whole, no renaissance can happen to the country.

The host, Governor of Cross River State, Senator Ben Ayade, and former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, throwing more light on the topic of discourse, also advocated the need for shaping core values that will give all Nigerians equal opportunity to access services.

The late Justice Bassey was remembered by his colleagues as one who fought for the independence of the Judiciary.

It was Vice President Osinbajo’s first official visit to the paradise city following his assumption of office.