Enugu State Govt. Moves To Sustain SMEs

The Enugu Government said it has demonstrated commitment and competency in the management of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the state.

Speaking during a one day training for entrepreneurs in the state, the Special Adviser to Enugu Governor on SMEs and Investment Promotion, Mr Anayo Agu, said the state has funded over 2500 companies totaling about 2 billion Naira.

Mr Agu said the state made funds available for running and starting up business irrespective of where the individual comes from.

He said the state is ready to take advantage of foreign partnership because of its abundance in trainable individuals who are willing to grow in business and contribute their quota.

He noted the state has attracted a lot of foreign investments which are at the preliminary stages citing the U.S solar power plant at Nachi.

“We have a U.S company that is still at the beginning stages of establishing a solar plant in Enugu state and to be precise at Nachi, the reason these investors are coming to the state is because of the full assurance that is coming from the state. Not only that the state will protect the investment but also to enable it.

“In terms of international business, we have international airport; the Akanu-Ibiam International Airport which is thriving, we have Ethiopian airline that operates twice weekly, and just by the airport we have the free trade zone”.

Mr Agu further explained that the free trade zone will give manufacturers opportunity to sell goods at duty free and equally export to another countries.
He said the state will continue to provide enabling environment to ensure the ease of doing business.

Akwa Ibom Govt. Partners General Electric To Build Power Training Institute

The Foreign Direct Investment drive of Akwa Ibom State Government, has received a quantum leap as the state government has concluded plans to partner with General Electric Global Operations, for the establishment of a world class training institute to address man power need and boost capacity of Akwa Ibom indigenes in the power sector.

The Executive Director, Government Affairs, General Electric Global Operations – West Africa, Dr. Joyce Shyngle-Wigwe, dropped the hint during an interaction with Government House correspondents shortly after a meeting with Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at his office.

Dr. Wigwe said, “General Electric has watched with keen interest the pace of development in the state as regards infrastructure under the watch of a seasoned entrepreneur governor Udom Emmanuel, and the company has decided to partner with the state in the provision of electricity, health care services and in other development programmes of the administration”.

She explained that, “The company had been involved with the installation of turbines at Ibom Power Plant and has undertaken the rehabilitation of power infrastructure to facilitate speedy transmission and distribution of electricity in the state”.

The Chairman of Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, who facilitated the meeting described the interaction as fruitful, explained that Akwa Ibom Governor has given approval for the state government to collaborate with the firm to boost power generation at Ibom Power Company.

“The collaboration would make the state a Power hub and the first phase of electricity generation would be at 240 Mega Watts while the second 240 would provide a total output of 480 Mega Watt for sufficient power generation”.

Engr. Inyang indicated that the Governor has directed the company to work out a functional modality to actualise the vision and expressed delight at the company’s decision to establish a training Centre in the state.

Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang, who also spoke said the company would help fast track the development matrix of the state’s administration.

The Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Ahmed Zakari, who congratulated Governor Emmanuel and his Executives on the development strides witnessed in the state, hinted that, “The state’s vision on infrastructure and industralisation informed their decision to partner in the development agenda of the state’s administration”.

“The partnership would boost the power sector to enable small and medium scale business operators carry out their businesses and provide employment to the youths of the state”.

Construction Commences At Akwa Ibom Intl. Market

Gov. Emmanuel Visits Akwa-Ibom PDP Secretariat
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

A consortium of Chinese Companies have concluded arrangements for the take-off of construction of an International Market at Ikot Ekpene and Eket local government, areas of Akwa Ibom state.

The consortium companies comprises of  China Railway and Airport Construction Company, Yiwu International Market Group, Ande Logistics, Forte Energy and Jaagris Nigeria Limited.

The leader of the Chinese Group, Mr Hou Jang, who spoke through an interpreter, announced this while briefing Governor Udom Emmanuel on the state of preparedness for the project at the Governor’s Office, Uyo.

He stated the readiness of the Chinese firm to collaborate with Akwa Ibom state government in its development programmes and expressed delight at the opportunity given them to contribute to the development of the state, assuring of quality service delivery.

Governor Emmanuel thanked the Chinese companies for their decision to partner with the state in the various aspects of industrialization and other development programmes and assured them of safety, transparent legislation and conducive operational environment for the project execution.

He said,  “I am glad to hear that you are commencing operations on the construction by first week of May and I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth take-off.

“Be rest assured that those things needed to allow you invest and make profit in place. We’ve already promulgated laws to support and protect your businesses, provide adequate security for your safety. As much as we can, we will develop infrastructure to provide market for your investment.

“The state has put in place a technical committee on Foreign Direct Investment to attract investors and provide enabling environment for them to operate. Everything would be put in place to facilitate the commencement of the project by the end of May as promised by the Chinese firm”, the governor said.

The Certificate of Occupancy for Eket project would be ready by the end of April and appealed to the construction company to expedite action on the project execution, adding that the state looks forward to the commencement of commercial operations in the market by September 23 when the state will be celebrating her 30 years of statehood.

Speaking with Government House Correspondents, Stakeholders in the benefiting local government areas, Mr Lawrence Udofa, a member representing Eket State Constituency in the House of Assembly and the Chairman Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, commended the Governor for his investment drive in the state and the take-off of construction of the International Market as promised the people during his election campaign.

Engr. Inyang said,” The state government has allocated about 25 hectares of land for the construction of the market which is to be sited along Calabar-Itu highway in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area”.

Bayelsa Assembly Urges More Security Presence At Boundary Communities

The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has taken another step to stop the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Nembe in the state and Kalabari in Rivers state.

The State Assembly passed a two point resolution which urged the state government through relevant ministries, department and agencies to work closely with members of the National Assembly from the area and the National Boundary Commission to quickly resolve the boundary disputes.

The lawmakers also directed the executive arm to mobilise adequate security to the Oluasiri area of Nembe and adjoining riverine communities in the area to protect the people from frequent attacks by armed men from Rivers State.

The resolutions followed a motion raised by Mr. Iniyobiyo Obiene representing Nembe constituency 3 in the State House of Assembly and unanimously adopted by the lawmakers as read out by the Speaker, Mr Konbowei Friday Benson.

Mr. Obiene, had told his colleagues that the people in the two oil-bearing communities, Oluasiri in Nembe and Soku in Kalabari were fully aware of the boundary and wondered why the Kalabari people would want to step out of the boundary.

“Given the fact that Oluasiri, Robert Kiri, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, and their environs are border communities cum settlements that bids the eastern boundary of Bayelsa state, it is true that these communities are in the volatile area prone to threats and attacks from their Rivers state neighbours even in the presence of security men deployed to the area by their government.

“Regrettably, our government has not been able to send security personnel to the area to ensure protection of lives and property of our people living there.

“This is evident in the kidnapping of one Charles Demi along Oluasuri waterways in December 2012, the destruction and burning of Ijaw-Kiri in the same year, the attack on one Mr.Amaebite Obiene and his colleagues at Sand-Sand village among others”, Obiene stated.

The lawmaker who said the hostilities in the disputed area had led to waste of lives, expressed worry that residents live in fear of intimidation and frequent harassment.
According to him, “Recently during the Phase II of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, there were serious security threats.

“As the exercise proceeded to our border communities with Rivers state such as Robert Kiri, Belema I, Belema II, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, Ijaw-Kiri and Soku in the Oluasiri axis, there were attacks on our people which led to serious setbacks on our part. Mr. Speaker, if nothing is done urgently, the ugly scenario will replay itself in the census proper, scheduled to take place in 2018”.

In another development, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, has reacted to media reports that the House did not hold a public hearing as well as consult widely before passing the State Education Tax bill recently signed into law by Governor Seriake Dickson.

The Speaker said the relevant committees held public hearings and reached out to key stakeholders to get their inputs into the bill.

He said the education tax law was a good thing to have happened to the state in the quest to protect the future of millions of Bayelsa youths.

The Speaker insisted that the lawmakers were working for the collective interest of the state and would continue to support other arms of government to fast track development in the state.

Syria Crisis: Thousands Evacuated From Four Besieged Towns

Syrian Government says the operation to move people away from four besieged towns in the north western region has begun.

According to AFP reports, the people evacuated from Foah and Kefraya, two government-held towns, have arrived in Rashideen, west of Aleppo.

Similar operations have also begun in rebel-held Madaya, near Damascus.

In March, the United Nations described the situation in the towns as catastrophic, with more than 64,000 civilians trapped in a cycle of daily violence and deprivation.

Many people are reported to have died as a result of shortages of food or medicine.

Officials said more than 30,000 people would be moved.

NFF Inspects Uyo Stadium For AFCON Qualifying Matches

Federation Cup, NFFAn inspection team led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, has expressed satisfaction with the current state of the playing turf of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

The stadium is slated to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa in eight weeks time.

Green, alongside NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme inspected the magnificent facility, nicknamed “Nest of Champions” which hosted the 2017 AFCON qualifier between the Super Eagles and Tanzania in September 2016, as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying battle between the Eagles and the Fennecs of Algeria five months ago.

“We are delighted with the state of the playing turf and other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, I can tell you that the pitch is just as it was when the Super Eagles played Algeria in the World Cup qualifier in November 2016.

“The fact that Julius Berger has also started some work on the turf is even more re-assuring. They are adding manure, and afterwards will do cutting and rolling, and they have the benefit of the weather at this period. By the time we host South Africa on June 10, the pitch will be one of the very best anywhere in Africa”, he said.

The visit to the capital of Akwa Ibom state was to ascertain the condition of the playing pitch and indeed other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, as well as the level of commitment of the State Government to hosting the big match.

After the inspection, the team reported, “Every inch of the field is covered by grass and the grass is lush green. Julius Berger (the company that built the stadium) has commenced work on the field for the purpose of bringing it to the best standard possible.

“Every other facility is in good condition. The condition of the field, as it is now, is good enough for matches to be played on it.

“The Akwa Ibom State Government has continued to show desire and commitment to hosting the match.

“However, in order to maintain the lush green state of the pitch, the inspection team has advised that no activity be carried out on it until ongoing work is completed and the 2019 AFCON qualifier between the Eagles and the Bafana Bafana is played”.

The “Nest of Champions” will also play host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches between the Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions on August 2017 and between the Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo of Zambia on October 2017.

NAF Intensifies Search For Ghana/ISIS Group In Benue State

Nigerian Air Force, Bombing, BornoThe Nigerian Air Force, on Thursday launched a seven day air surveillance and bombardment operation code-named “Operation Smoke Out”.

The operation is to check the activities of wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza and possible existence of ISIS/Boko Haram group in Benue state, as recently announced by the Department of State Services.

The Air Officer Commanding of the Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal, Nurudeen Balogun, said there are no official intelligence on the existence of ISIS/Boko Haram in Benue state, Operation Smoke Out, is targeted at all known criminal elements involved in the Zaki Biam killings and the ISIS group if it exists.

The Air Officer listed Agatu, Katsina Ala and Zaki- Biam in Benue state as well as Wukari in Taraba state as the flash points for the operation, the operations will include other security agencies, while the Benue state government tasked indigenes on intelligence sharing.

The Air Officer briefs journalist on the component of the operation said,

“We are working with other security agencies to make sure we put a stop to this menace and so some air assets including, aisle assets and gunships and some fighter airplanes will be operating in the next seven days, conducting intensive operations, both day and night to make sure that we solve the problems”.

Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented by his Special Adviser on Sports and Youth Development, Professor Jonathan Uever, expressed confidence in the military to end the Benue violence.

“The Benue state government has a lot of confidence in the operations of the military and with the briefs we have received from the Air Officer Commanding, we know that it is going to be well and the people will sleep with their eyes closed, especially in the areas they showed us that they will carry out the operations”.

The Air Officer Commanding said, although there are no official report of ISIS/Boko Haram cell in Benue, the operation is designed to root out all criminal elements.

The acting commanding officer of the 101 Air Defense Group, Mohammed Baba-Ari, in a briefing with pilots and mission commanders, listed key troubled areas like Agatu, Katsina Ala, Zaki Biam and Wukari forest in Taraba state.

“The major restive areas include Agatu, Zaki Biam, Katsina Ala and Logo local government areas among others. Also a forest stretching between Benue and Taraba states is the suspected enclave for the vandals perpetrating these acts”.

The Operation Smoke Out follows last weeks approval by the Chief of Air Staff, to commence counter terrorism operations with air power in a joint security operation with ground troops of other sister agencies.

Nasarawa State Govt. Commences Payment Of Gratuity

Courtesy: en.wikipedia

The Nasarawa State Government, has commenced screening for payment of gratuities for eligible pensioners in the state.

The two days screening is supervised by the State Head of Service, Thomas Ogiri.

As early as 8:00am on Thursday, beneficiaries of the first phase of payment of gratuities and death benefits to families of deceased civil servants trooped into the Lafia city hall with relevant documents.

Speaking in an interview, Thomas Ogiri said only those whose names were published on certain newspaper are qualified for payment.

He also gave reasons why names were published saying that the government has nothing to hide from its citizens.

“We did it deliberately because this is a transparent government so nothing to hide.

“The governor ordered that it should be published so that we can see it in the newspaper publication, there is no point you come to this point without knowing how much you are going to earn”.

He further expressed satisfaction with the exercise and called on the beneficiaries to be patient adding that they will all be screened within two days.

On their part, the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the government approving the release of their entitlements.

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On Damascus

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution On DamascusFor the umpteenth time, Russia has vetoed a draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council, that would have condemned last week’s alleged chemical attack in Syria.

The resolution which was presented by the United States, United Kingdom and France, demanded that Damascus cooperates with investigators.

The proposed resolution would have backed an investigation on the ground by the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons.

This would be the eighth time Russia has protected its Syrian ally at the council.

NATO No Longer Obsolete – Donald Trump

President Trump Proposes Massive Aid CutsUnited States President, Donald Trump says the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is no longer obsolete, reversing his earlier statement which alarmed allies.

Hosting the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at the White House, Mr Trump said that the threat of terrorism has underlined the alliance’s importance.

At a joint press conference with Mr Stoltenberg, President Trump said he and the Secretary General had a productive discussion on what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism.

The US President further reiterated his call for NATO member States to contribute more funding to the alliance.

Police Arrest Three Suspected Army Impostors In Imo State

Police Question Man Over Ogoni Food PoisoningThe Imo State Police Command has arrested three suspects, Kingsley Inyang, Edet Okon and Victor Akpan all from Akwa Ibom state for impersonation and claiming to be army officials, while extorting huge amount of money from unsuspected applicants who wish to join the Nigerian Army.

While parading the suspects at the Imo Police Command Headquarters in Owerri, the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Chris Ezike, said the suspects were arrested at Amakohia Ubi in Owerri west Local Government area of Imo state following intelligence reports.

The commissioner also paraded some other suspected criminals who are allegedly involved in various crime ranging from kidnapping, armed robbery, car snatching and cultism.

The commissioner said the renewed vision of the command is to reduce crime and enhance safety and security in Imo state as well as provide qualitative police service for the people of Imo state.

Items recovered include three AK rifles, 15 AK47, magazines loaded with ammunition, locally made pistols and army camouflage uniforms.

In his words, “we have collectively resolved in this command that our mission and vision is to reduce crime and enhance safety and security in Imo state.

“This state shall not only enable Imolites go about their lawful business without fear of any molestation but also enable the business of government and private sector thrive without security encumbrances, we shall provide qualitative Police service to the people of Imo state.

“Kingsley Inyang, Edet Okon and Victor Akpan all from Akwa Ibom state have been arrested for specializing in defrauding unsuspected applicants wishing to join the Nigerian army.
“They were arrested at Amakohia Ubi in Owerri west Local Government area of Imo state following a tip off.

“Investigation revealed that the affected candidates were ignorantly mandated by the suspects to pay the sum of 8, 000 Naira and 70, 000 Naira for medical test and recruitment training exercises.

“The suspects are currently undergoing interrogation and will be charged to court soon”, the commissioner said.

Governor Obaseki Signs CDA Bill Into Law

Governor Obaseki Signs CDA Bill Into Law
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has signed into law a bill prohibiting forceful and illegal occupation of landed property by Community Development Associations (CDAs) in the state.

During the signing ceremony at the Government House in Benin City, the Edo state capital, Governor Obaseki said his administration will always provide a conducive environment for investments to thrive in the state.

He stated that many of the youths who would be affected by the bill would be compensated, urging the public to get familiar with the provisions of the law, adding that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

The governor further said that the acts of land grabbing is inimical to the economic growth of the society.

A copy of the bill was later presented to Oba Ewuare II, the Oba of Benin.

The Benin Monarch lauded the State’s Executive and Legislature for the swift enactment of the law, adding that those affected will be compensated.

“Palliative measures are put in place to ensure that they don’t see it as witch-hunting or excessive punishment or that they don’t recognise their plight”

Meanwhile, a task force headed by the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, has been set up to drive enforcement of the law.