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Flood: Abia residents count losses, heap blames on govt

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Residents of Abia State are currently counting their loss following the ravaging flood which hit several parts of the State.

Abia, South-East Nigeria, just like many other States of the federation, is having its fair share of the devastating flood, which has rendered millions of people homeless, with some reported dead.

Many traders, car owners, property owners, among others, in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State, have lost several billions of naira to the devastating flood.

On September 26, 2022, a large population of Aba residents received the worst blow as they woke up and saw submerged shops, residential and corporate buildings at the famous Ariaria International Market and its environs.

We reports that this led to complete destruction of goods worth billions of naira.

Group of traders, who could not bear the development, staged a peaceful protest, seeking the intervention of the Government of Abia State.

Reacting to the protest by traders in Ariaria International Market Aba, the State Commissioner for Trade and Investments, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, said: “while we obviously have no way of preventing heavy rains from falling in any of our markets, the administration undertook the ongoing remodelling of the market, starting with A-line, with new drains, road and shops elevated and aligned properly to conclusively deal with the perennial flooding challenges experienced by traders since inception of the market.

“While it is a fact that government has no tool at the moment to prevent torrential rains from falling in any part of the State, including Ariaria International Market area, we have consistently taken measures to ensure that traders do not suffer unduly as a result of the forecast floods ravaging both the country and the entire world”.

Kalu continued, “After due review of the current flooding situation across the country, affected areas in Ariaria and the subsisting forecast by Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA) and Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) advising further preparations for more floods, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has approved the immediate relocation of traders in A-D zones of A-line to available shops in the A block zone, So-Safe zone and Ochendo zone in Ariaria International Market for temporary accommodation without any fees pending the completion of the ongoing work”.

On the protest by traders in Aba over the incessant cases of flooding in Ariaria International market, Kalu, however, described the protesters as politically sponsored individuals masquerading as traders at Ariaria International Market, leading to the destruction of some construction equipment deployed to ensure the proper remodelling of A-line.

On measures and efforts taken by Abia government to address causes of the rampaging floodings in Aba market and its environs, the Trade and Investment Commissioner, Kalu who frowned at the building of structures randomly without planning, reechoed the demand by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led administration for strict implementation of physical planning standards.

He said, “the lack of priority given to the implementation of physical planning standards had led to arbitrary erection of structures on unapproved spaces, especially in Ariaria International market where buildings were built even on drainage channels.

“Look at the challenges of flooding we are facing at the Ariaria market, it is as a result of building randomly without planning. That’s why you see floods submerging many shops and residential houses.”

Similarly, residents of Umuahia, the Abia capital city are not exempted. Areas within Umuahia axis, such as first gate of Ehimiri Housing Estate, along Ikot Ekpene road, Orpet junction, Afara/Agbama/Holy Ghost Secondary School road leading to Ahiaukwu Olokoro in Umuahia south area, Apumiri Ubakala junction by Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt Express road and few others too mention are battling the natural disaster.

Irked by ravaging flooding being experienced in Umuahia and Aba cities during the yearly rainy season, a cross section of Abia residents, on Friday, maintained that enough action has not been taken by the Government of Abia State in curtailing the harsh effect of flood in most parts of the State.

In an interview with us, a businessman and resident of Aba, Mr Maurice Ndubueze, regretted that the flood ravaging the State was caused by bad roads and drainage blockages.

According to Nwabueze, “the State government should step up efforts in construction and rehabilitation of roads. You can see that the link roads within and outside Ariaria market here in Aba are deplorable, thereby causing devastating floods. Government must get it right by raising the bar in critical infrastructure.”

On her part during an interaction with our correspondent, a female trader who sells tomatoes at the popular Orie Ugba Market in Umuahia township, Madam Nkechi Nwankwo regretted the worsening flood disasters within the market.

She also regretted the sorry state of link roads within and outside the shores of the markets which she described as one of the major causes of flood disasters in the Umuahia areas.

Nwankwo, however, urged developers to subject themselves to planning before erecting commercial structures and residential buildings.

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Man, 21, to spend four years in prison for stealing Infinix phones

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An Ekiti State Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has sentenced 21-year-old Owolabi Olamide to four years imprisonment with hard labour, after he was found guilty of a five-count charge that included a break-in, stealing and escape from police custody.

The convict was arraigned before Magistrate Michael Faola on five counts of criminal charges bordering on causing a breach of peace by jumping over the fence of one Otutu Ifeanyi, unlawfully breaking into his shop, stealing items worth millions of naira, escaping from Police custody while detained for enquiry, among others.

The offences contravened and are punishable under sections 181,322,363, and 120(a) of the Criminal Law, No 12 vol.1, Laws of Ekiti State Nigeria, 2021.

The charges were read, explained and interpreted to the defendant, to which he pleaded guilty.

The complainant Otutu Ifeanyi was led in evidence by the prosecutor, Inspector Bankole Olasunkanmi. He tendered cartons of power banks, recovered Infinix phones, cartons of phones and other valuables as exhibits.

The defendant did not object to all exhibits tendered and confessed to having committed the offences as charged.

Delivering his judgment, Magistrate Michael Faola sentenced the defendant to three years imprisonment on count two (jumping over the fence) and one-year imprisonment on count five (escape from Police custody) with hard labour. Sentences are to run consecutively.

The judge ordered that all items recovered from the defendant, currently in police custody, should be released forthwith to the complainant.

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2023: APC debunks rumours of planned move of Nigeria’s capital to Lagos by Tinubu

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The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council has described as false, a statement making the rounds on social media that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the party’s presidential candidate, harbours plans to relocate the Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos on succeeding President Muhammad Buhari.

It said Tinubu never contemplated such plans and would never do so as it goes contrary to the country’s constitution.

This was disclosed on Tuesday in a statement issued and signed by Bayo Onanuga, the Director, Media and Publicity APC Presidential Campaign Council.

The statement pointed fingers at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Labour Party, for Championing the misinformation campaign against its candidate, saying some field reports had proved so.

Part of the statement read: “The All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council hereby alerts Nigerians about the latest insidious campaign in some parts of the country against our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“In one of the falsehoods being circulated, especially in the North West of the country, Tinubu is said to harbour plans to relocate the Federal Capital from Abuja to Lagos on succeeding President Muhammad Buhari from 29th May, 2023.

“This misinformation campaign, according to field reports, is being given some traction by some elders on the payroll of the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Let us say with emphasis, that Asiwaju does not contemplate any such plan and will not do anything that is so ultra-unconstitutional.”

It further lamented that some purveyors of fake news had also distorted facts about the recent commercialization of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

It clarified that President Buhari had instead made it a commercial entity in line with the Petroleum Industry Act.

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Fuel scarcity: Remove subsidy, heavens won’t fall – Former NNPC GM tells FG.

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The former General Manager of Corporate Planning and Business Development at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Babajide Soyode, has urged the Federal Government to halt the fuel subsidy payment regime to end the persistent scarcity of the product.

Soyode made this disclosure on Tuesday in an AriveTV interview monitored by us.

He decried the outrageous cost of diesel in Nigeria compared with the price in neighboring countries such as Ghana.

According to him, Nigerians are paying the highest cost of diesel in Africa.

“We spend subsidies to maintain the elite of this country; that is all we are doing. Even the elites no longer get it, but some people are taking it to squander in Dubai. I am saying, remove subsidy today heavens will not come down.

“All these things they are talking about are not true; diesel in Ghana is N549; do they have subsidies for diesel? Why are they paying N549, and we are paying N786? We are importing the product from the same market. I am not blaming IPMAN or NNPC if the government has screwed up the market by maintaining subsidies. You can quote me; the fuel scarcity situation will continue after December”, he stated.

Nigerians continue to grapple with the attendant implications as fuel queues resurfaced in Abuja, Lagos, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and other major cities.

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