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Travellers flee deadly highways

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Travellers flee deadly highways
  • Now send, receive goods by courier

 

  • Transport firms making brisk business

 

 

Nigerian highways are increasingly becoming a nightmare for travellers to ply on; no thanks to the rising menace of kidnappings for for money, banditry and other deadly crimes, which take place along the routes.

 

 

Although the highways are not the only places of fear for Nigerians as the deteriorating security situation across the land occasioned by the activities of terror groups including Boko Haram, armed bandits and dreaded Fulani herdsmen killings on a daily basis, is sending casualty figures mounting.

This was brought home recently when the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Office of the Secretary Government of the Federation, Amina Shamaki, said that Nigeria recorded a total of 1,460 deaths and 330 attacks in the last seven months.

 

 

She said this at a security meeting by the federal and states security administrators in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State, recently. These harrowing figures have led to many travellers opting to boycott the highways when they can.

 

 

Sunday Telegraph findings showed that those, who usually travel to major cities like Lagos, Abuja, Onitsha, Aba, Kano and Kaduna for businesses, are currently discouraged from travelling by road – instead they have found courier services a good replacement for physically travelling by road.

 

 

A director in a federal government research facility in Yaba, who hails from Kaduna State, until the last Eid el Kabir, had a tradition of going to his roots to celebrate the festival with members of his extended family members.

But this year, he did not. He opted to stay in Lagos. “I can’t risk my life travelling along the Kaduna – Zaria road,” he said in a chat with Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

The director, who spoke with the weekly on condition of anonymity, said he did the needful before Sallah.

 

“I paid them a pre-Sallah visit. The road is too dangerous for one to ply it anyhow. I do not have money to pay for ransom.”

 

 

It is not only the roads in the North Western axis that travellers are fleeing from. The Benin-Asaba highway is not left out. It was on this route that a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) was abducted months back.

He paid N3 million to regain his freedom.

“It is those who know him that probably kidnapped him in order to collect their own share of a ‘deal’, a group of Police officers confided in Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

This has sent shivers down the spine of the aged mother of an official of the Abuja Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

 

 

“My mama, asked me not to bother coming home. She specifically called me not to go the Delta if I am not travelling by air,” he said in a telephone chat with our correspondent, when asked whether he would attend the annual convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), which held last month.

In the South West, the Akure-Ilesa highway has since been largely abandoned.

 

 

Many of the commuters, who ply the Trunk A highway to connect Ekiti and Ondo states and the North Central part of the country now do so through the Benin-Ore road, in order to get to their destinations.

“Although it is longer, but it is safer,” said the driver of a Lagos-based transport company. “There are security personnel manning the highway,” said one of the drivers on Friday.

 

 

This has led to more traffic and occasional traffic gridlock, especially in construction zones.

In addition, more time is spent on the road. A journey of 7 hours now takes 14 hours by road. “We left Lagos at 6:45am and got to Utako a little after 9:00pm,” volunteered a traveller, on Friday.

 

 

Our source said: “It will also cost me more money. I am going to Kaduna, I will to pass the night in Abuja and complete my journey by train on Saturday morning,” said a traveller, who identified himself simply as Tolu.

 

 

“There was a reduction in the number of kidnapped cases on the Taraba axis since August 6, 2019, since the lid on alleged kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu Assume was blown open,” a retired director, Federal Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Bayo Atoyebi said on a television program.

 

 

According to him: “There had been a lull in the activities of the marauders even on the Abuja-Kaduna highway since his arrest until the recent incident in which the three A.B.U. final year law students were abducted.”

 

But for those who it has become inevitable to travel, they have devised means to beat the insecurity. For many of them, it’s now safer to travel by night. This is based on the notion that most prominent men and women do not travel by night.

It was so bad that even the police even advised some government officials and certain expatriates to travel to Port Harcourt by night.

 

 

More so, a frequent traveller, Mr. Nelson Jideofor, told Sunday Telegraph of a very wealthy man, a co-traveller, a Nnewi-based businessman from Anambra State, who in the fear of highway marauders, totally changed his disguise before entering a public bus in Onitsha.

 

 

The Nnewi-born businessman (name withheld) dressed in simple attire, three quarter jeans shorts and branded singlet. He furthered disguised himself by wearing simple palm slippers on.

 

 

According to Jideofor: “You would never expect to meet such a man in the vehicle. In fact he totally blended in chatting easily with his co-travellers. No one, except a person who really knows him well would believe he was someone else.

“Many didn’t know why he was there but the truth of the matter is that he was scared of driving along Benin-Ore road due to the nightmare kidnapping along the corridor has become.”

 

 

Travellers shun Abuja-Okene, other routes

During Sunday Telegraph’s tour of major motor parks at Maza-Maza along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, where virtually all the transport companies are located, many travellers and motorists who responded averred that fear of kidnapping and killings along Benin-Ore route stopped them from traveling along the road.

They also held that the same reason prevented many travellers from going to Abuja and other parts of northern Nigeria through Abuja-Okene route, the reason they preferred courier services to physical travelling.

 

 

According to a traveller, Miss Ijeoma Obi, who was going to Onitsha that morning, she has not been traveling to the South East since the cases of the kidnap and robberies along Benin-Ore Road increased.

 

 

“After hearing about the kidnappings, the killings, robberies, I became so scared to travel on that road. I have been sending things home by courier; I have stopped going in person. Even this one, I would not have made the trip but it has become very important that I’m going,” she said.

For Martins Asika, a passenger on G.U.O Motors headed for Asaba, responded in the same way, adding that the worse part of the route is Abuja-Agbor stretch of the journey.

 

 

According to him, the route has one of the worse roads coupled with the herdsmen activities, saying that he stopped traveling to Abuja by road instead he would send money to his brother to buy things for him and courier it back to him in Lagos.

“My friend was among the people attacked by the herdsmen on the route sometime in the past. After that, there was a broadcast that the route was unsafe, so I shunned the route. I don’t have money to travel by air but I try to book ticket weeks ahead of my trip to get it cheaper. I can’t travel to Abuja by road again,” he averred.

An Alaba trader, who came to send his goods through courier services provided by the transport companies instead of traveling in person, said he does not have business traveling by the roads due to the level of insecurity in the country.

 

 

“What I do these days, is to collect money and orders from my customers in different parts of the country, get what they want and send back to them. I don’t have business traveling to anywhere. This is what some of us do today,” he said.

 

 

More so, in a bid to confirm how the insecurity has affected transport companies and increased the volume of courier services, Miss Faith Chude, a ticketer at Genesis Motors, said the company has been receiving parcels on daily basis but loads only one mini-bus per night.

At the Young Shall Grow Park, people were trooping in and out of the park with goods and parcels to freight to one part of the country to the other. Cartons of goods, including, motor parts, refrigerators, clothes, bags of rice and other consumables among others, were seen stacked at the company’s premises.

A driver with Libra Motors, Paul Ovie, who plies the Lagos-Onitsha route, said for fear of attacks, he doesn’t ply Benin By-pass again, instead he enters Benin City metropolis and faces the minor traffic therein.

 

 

“It is better I got to my destination late than to be attacked and injured by herdsmen if I’m left alive. I have devoted that day for travelling, so there is no need rushing. We are not in the season yet,” he said.

 

 

Sunday Telegraph’s interaction with some of the passengers and drivers among area boys generated group discussions where travellers and others condemned the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government which is yet to take decisive actions to arrest the situation on the roads apart from having pockets of police and military checkpoints here and there along the routes.

 

But Force Public Relations officer, Frank Mba does not agree that things are that bad, insisting that the security infractions are not enough to send people away from the highways.

 

 

“If you go to our motor parks, Nigerians are travelling every day. The transport companies are not complaining of lull in business. As a matter of fact, if you do not book ahead, you may not get a seat. The roads are heavy of traffic.

 

 

“Another way of confirming this, once there is a little issue on the road, there is traffic snarl. It is not to say there is no challenge. However, I disagree that it is an overwhelming perennial issue. Most of the challenges are occasional security breach that happens on the road.

 

 

“We are engaging the public, deploying more man power and logistics and more technology. I want to assure Nigerians that what is happening is a phase and it will pass away. In those areas where there are challenges, order will be restored, very soon,” he told Sunday Telegraph.

 

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Lenita Cocks

    November 12, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    very cool

  2. Loren Sperandeo

    November 12, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    very cool

  3. Cecily Demeter

    November 12, 2019 at 11:43 am

    very cool

  4. Jarrod Esquerra

    November 11, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    very cool

  5. Missy Gachupin

    November 10, 2019 at 7:52 am

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Rising debt profile: States’ debts exceed 50% of their annual revenue –FRC

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Rising debt profile: States’ debts exceed 50% of their annual revenue –FRC

•Owing over N5.8trn

 

 

In this report, PAUL OGBUOKIRI notes that the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja owe over N5.8 trillion out of Nigeria’s total debt profile of over N25.7trillion and that most of the states’ debts exceed 50 per cent of their annual revenue

 

 

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), the total Public Debt Data as at Nigerian states and federal debt stock data as at June 30, 2019 reflected that the country’s total public debt portfolio stood at N25.70trillion. Further disaggregation of Nigeria’s total public debt showed that N8.32trillion or 32.38 per cent of the debt was external while N17.38trillion or 67.62 per cent of the debt was domestic.

 

Similarly, total domestic debt was N3.97 trillion with Lagos State accounting for 12.08 per cent of the total domestic debt stock while Yobe State has the least debt stock in this category with a contribution of 0.68 per cent to the total domestic debt stock. DMO disclosed that the total public debt grew marginally by 2.30 per cent when compared to the figure of N24.387 trillion (US$ 79.437 billion) as at December 31, 2018. It said the increases continued from Q1 when an increase of N560.009 billion in the total public debt was recorded, saying increase in domestic debt which grew by N458.363 billion was largely responsible.

 

“Increases were recorded in the domestic debt Stock of the FGN, states and the FCT. External debt also increased by N101.646 billion during the same period.

 

“In relation to the Debt Management Strategy, the Ratio of Domestic to External Debt stood at 68.49 per cent to 31.51 per cent at the end of March 2019. The total public Debt to GDP ratio was 19.03 per cent which is within the 25 per cent debt limit imposed by the government.”

 

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), debts owed by states are in multiple categories: foreign debt, domestic debt, Central Bank of Nigeria bailout funds and the Budget Support Facility arranged for them by the Federal Government. Most states’ debts exceed their annual revenue Out of the huge debt profile of the country, the total domestic debt of 36 states in Nigeria as at end of the Q2 2019 stood at N3.8 trillion.

 

Lagos State, which has the highest domestic debt among all 36 states, also has the highest foreign debt. Other states with high foreign debts include Kaduna, Edo, Cross River and Ogun, the Debt Management Office, DMO, said. Experts say most of the states’ debts exceeded 50 per cent of their annual revenues.

 

The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) had since 2016 warned that the debt profiles of about 18 states exceed their gross and net revenues by more than 200 per cent while Lagos, Osun and Cross River states record over 480 per cent debt to gross revenue. It said the debt may have increased by 2017 since there were no efforts by the states to clear them. FRC said the development was contrary to the guidelines of the Debt Management Office on debt sustainability. The guidelines said that the debt status of each state should not exceed 50 per cent of the statutory revenue in the previous 12 months.

 

The report stated: “In the light of the DMO’s guidelines on the Debt Management Framework, specifically, sections 222 to 273 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007 pertaining to debt sustainability, according to the guidelines, the debt to income ratio of states should not exceed 50 per cent of the statutory revenue for the preceding 12 months.”

 

An analysis presented in the FRC report, however, showed that most states flouted the directive. In fact, the debt status of many states exceeded the debt to revenue ratio by more than 100 per cent.

 

The analysis was based on the debt profile of the states as of December 31, 2016.

 

The states with the highest debt to gross revenue ratios were Lagos (670.42 per cent), Osun (539.25 per cent), Cross River (486.49 per cent), Plateau (342.01 per cent), Oyo (339.56 per cent), Ekiti (339.34 per cent), Ogun (329.47 per cent), Kaduna (297.26 per cent) and Imo (292.82 per cent). Others were Edo (270.8 per cent), Adamawa (261.96 per cent), Delta (259.63 per cent), Bauchi (250.75 per cent), Nasarawa (250.36 per cent), Kogi (221.92 per cent), Enugu (207.49 per cent), Zamfara (204.91 per cent), and Kano (202.61 per cent). The debt to net revenue ratio of the states put some of the states in even more precarious situations.

 

The debt to net revenue of Lagos, for instance, is 930.96 per cent, while that of Cross River is 940.64 per cent. States whose debts did not exceed 50% of their revenue According to the NBS report, the only states whose debt did not exceed the 50 per cent ratio by more than 100 per cent are Anambra, Borno, Jigawa, Kebbi, Sokoto, Yobe and the Federal Capital Territory.

 

The report noted that debt to revenue ratio is very important in debt analysis as it can give an indication of the capacity of the debtor to service and repay the debt. However, the FRC noted that it should not be concluded that a state had over-borrowed because its debt to revenue ratio was more than 50 per cent.

 

 

It stated, “It should be noted that the fact that some states exceeded the threshold of 50 per cent of their total revenue is not an indication that they over-borrowed as the debt limits of the governments in the federation are yet to be set.

 

“Furthermore, only total revenue is used for the foregoing analysis as comprehensive data on the states’ Internally Generated Revenue were not available. In any case, the IGR on the average is not more than eight per cent of the states’ total revenue except for Lagos State. In essence, the non-inclusion of the IGR may not distort the result of the analysis.

 

“Therefore, there is a need for each of these states to work towards bringing their respective consolidated debts within the 50 per cent threshold of their total revenue in order to guarantee general public debt sustainability in the country.”

 

Meanwhile, figures from the NBS indicate that Lagos State had the largest share of the foreign and local debts among the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory. Lagos state’s foreign debt stood flat at $1.42 billion (N513.33 billion) in Q2 2019 when compared to the same period in 2018.

 

Following Lagos on the foreign debt profile is Edo state with $277.74 million while Rivers state followed on domestic borrowing with N266.94 billion, during the same period under review.

 

States with the highest foreign debt profile Lagos N479.04 billion, Delta N233.56 billion, Rivers N266.94 billion, Akwa Ibom N206.41 billion and Cross River N168.82 billion States’ total domestic debt The total domestic debt stock of the 36 states and FCT Abuja is N3.9 trillion as at June 2019.

 

Lagos State has the highest figure of N479 billion, Rivers State came second with N266 billion, Delta on the third position with N233 billion and Akwa Ibom forth with N206 billion and Yobe with the least domestic debt of N27 billion.

 

Any cause for alarm? Despite growing concerns over the country’s debt level, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the challenge is not in debt level but how to raise revenue as an alternative. This came as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio is good but too risky.

 

In an Independent Day report on October 1, 2019, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) described how Nigerian state debt profiles serve as impediments to democratic values and dividends. The report observed how successive governments accumulate debts for new ones serving as obstacles for the provision of capital projects.

 

 

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NRCRI: Empowering women yam farmers in enhanced food production

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NRCRI: Empowering women yam farmers in enhanced food production

I

t is often said that one cannot do the same thing the same way and expect a different result. Thus, the initiative of the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) to train women seed yam farmers in its Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security in West Africa (YIIFSWA-II) programme is a paradigm shift in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to increased food production.

 

 

Before now, efforts and policies aimed at changing the narrative of our development trajectory visa vis agriculture, had more often than not ended in lip service and haphazard impracticable approach. The benefit and multiplier effect of the training cannot be over stressed given its income generating capacity to the farmer; availability of high yielding, healthy seed yams to companies and commercial farmers and sustained food security for the country.

 

In line with its mandate in root and tuber crops research, the Institute gathered no fewer than 30 women from the five states of the South East zone of the country to train them on the modern techniques of seed yam multiplication.

 

The two-day training took them on traditional seed yam production, the minisett technique and the aeroponics system of seed yam production. At the end of the training the women were excited with the prospect of increased production and expansion of their efforts in seed yam production and multiplication.

 

The training was practical, as they were taken to the fields for demonstration and interaction, offering them opportunities to ask questions and get answers from the resource persons, who are professionals in the sector.

 

Nigeria is without doubt the world’s largest yam producer; that global leadership in yam production has to be sustained. However, the scarcity of healthy, disease-free and high yielding seed yams has been the greatest challenge to yam production. The development has also been the major concern and worry of government and research institutes. And the training of women seed yam farmers is one of the practical measures adopted by the NRCRI to tackle the problem.

 

It is common to see consumers of yam eat the whole yam including the head, which should have been reserved for planting.

The next planting season has always been a nightmare to ware yam farmers as they are forced to traverse the country, seed yam companies and local markets for healthy seed yams for cultivation.

 

The training would have, to a large extent, solved the problem, since from the next planting season the women would provide a pool of accessible seed yams for the farmers, in at least the yam cultivating belt of the five states of the south east zone.

 

 

The projects gender bias is heart-warming. Men had dominated the cultivation of the crop in the Eastern region of Nigeria even though women provide 90 percent of the labour. The initiative has broken the hitherto male dominance of yam cultivation. Now, women who actually do the farm work, are empowered and given their rightful place in yam cultivation with the attendant boost in income and food security.

 

 

Besides, the training is coming at a time when Nigeria needs to maintain its lead in global yam production and explore the great export potentials of the commodity.

 

In his keynote address, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Sabo Nanono, said the investment in women was a deliberate and consistent development of human capital.

 

 

The minister noted that “development of the yam production system in Nigeria has been hampered by the inadequate availability of quality seed yam tubers of improved varieties. To address this gap, the second phase of the Yam Improvement for Income and Food Security (YIIFSWA-II) project intensified efforts for the establishment of the formal seed system for yam in Nigeria.”

 

 

Nanono said the ministry’s gender policy on agriculture was “aimed at drastically reducing the vulnerability of women to biases in agriculture, address the unequal gender power relation and bridge gender gap. I see all the women here as a chosen race who are in the process of fulfilling the UN, Federal Government and YIIFSWA goal.”

 

 

The minister, who said it was time to take into account the critical contribution and role of women in seed yam production, added that the inability to empower women in the past had limited agricultural production. He urged the participants to have profit and self-empowerment in mind.

 

 

Mrs Susan Ugorji, a yam farmer from Ndoji Abam in Arochukwu Local Government Area of Abia State, was among the participants. She confessed that the training has taken her beyond her limited traditional knowledge of yam production, an experience she promised to translate in concrete action as she returns home with increased seed yam production.

 

 

“The training has equipped me with new skills on yam cultivation. I have been a yam farmer but using traditional methods. I never knew some of the methods we were taught, especially the use of chemicals, the mass production of seed yam and the aeroponics system of seed yam multiplication.”

 

Mrs Alagba Nwamaka, from Ebonyi State, described the two day training as fantastic.

 

 

“It was an eye opener to the modern and scientific methods of seed yam multiplication. As I go back I will use the method to increase production.”

 

Also, Ode Ifeoma, another Ebonyi State participant, said the training had made her ready, waiting for the next stage of empowerment and implementation.

 

“In Ebonyi State we are familiar with yam cultivation and with the scientific training I will increase production. I’m happy with the training because it will improve my income and food security.”

Ijeoma Ezekiel Ariwodo, said it was a wonderful experience.

 

“I learnt a lot of things. Let me appreciate the organisers, they have done noble. They exposed us to a lot of ways we can multiply yam, apart from the use of ware yam in planting. I am going to put the outcome of the training into practice. I have told my husband to reserve a piece of land for me and he has accepted, so that I will go into seed yam multiplication and I believe it will improve my income.”

 

 

Mrs Maduka, said: “I benefited a lot and I am going back to implement it to improve my income.”

 

 

Mrs Ariwodo Joy, who is not new to the training in yam production, shared her experience with the new participants on how it has transformed her life and income.

 

 

“I thank God for the Research Institute Umudike and YIIFSWA-II, they have made me someone today. And it’s through the efforts of Nwada Agro-seeds and input company Ltd, that I am here. They have made me to come to a level and standard for me to know that it is good to be a commercial farmer, to help this nation be in a state of good health through food security. I am more transformed. I have learnt a lot which I will put into practice.

 

 

“The organisers did not waste this time to bring us to this training. I’m grateful to Dr Maroya and Dr Beatrice who taught me in March 2015 at Abuja. It has helped me so much. In 2000 I was trained on cowpea by Dr Amadioha, that was how I came to IITA.”

 

 

The Executive Director of the NRCRI, Professor Joseph Ukpabi, had while declaring the training open charged the trainees to take advantage of the programme to contribute to the food security and job creation efforts of the federal government.

 

 

He explained that YIIFSWA as a project of the Institute in collaboration with IITA was committed to the development of healthy, disease free and high yielding seed yams. He described the participants are partners in that regard.

Dr Nobert Maroya, IITA Country Director, allayed the fears of seed yam farmers regarding the market for their product. He said there was more than enough demand waiting to be met and urged the trainees to brace up to the challenge of becoming partners in seed yam multiplication project of YIIFSWA-II. Maroya explained that the export potential of yam is so large within Africa and West African sub region that yam farmers have bright prospects. He said it was a special privilege for them to be selected from a population of about 100million women to be the off takers of the project.

 

 

“This project has four objectives. One of the objectives is to empower the women so that they can take advantage as the men in seed yam production. And the training of today is really one of the activities leading to the empowerment of women. It’s the training organised by the National Roots Crops Research Institute for 30 women who are yam farmer to transform them into the formal seed yam entrepreneurs. They are already doing that, but with this training they will get the capacity, the strength, to continue doing the work they started but better now because they are using improved technique and really variety of yam,” he said.

 

 

Coordinator of the YIIFSWA project at the NRCRI, Dr Nnamdi Okechukwu Eke-Okoro, who also took the trainees on the aeroponics system of seed yam multiplication, said the project was the brainchild of the IITA, Ibadan, which had championed research on the improvement of crops with the aim of maximizing production, by giving us excellent, clean, high quality seed.

 

 

He said the: “NRCRI was the gateway to improved, high quality seed and multiplication of seed yam with known source.”

 

He told the participants that the aim of the training was “to empower you to have food and income. One of the aims of the YIIFSWA project is empowering women.”

 

 

Dr Joe Ikeogu and Dr Beatrice Aighewi were among the resource persons that took the trainees on different aspects of seed yam multiplication. With the experience acquired, farm land at their disposal in their various localities, all the women need now is timely release of grant and materials to meet the target of the next planting season.

 

 

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Man butchers lover, sells each part to herbalists, clerics for N1000

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Man butchers lover, sells each part to herbalists, clerics for N1000

Policemen attached to the Inspector- General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IRT) have arrested an herbalist, who killed his lover and sold her body parts to different herbalists, Muslim clerics and pastors for ritual at the rate of N1000 per part.

The policemen led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Abba Kyari, have arrested 13 herbalists so far involved the butchering and selling of the victim’s body parts, while so many others are still at large. Our reporter gathered that the tracking and eventual arrest of the suspects in different parts of Ogun State wouldn’t have been possible, if not for the active participation of the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson and his men in the investigation, which stretched into weeks. The prime suspect, Segun Olaniyi, claimed that the victim, Abosede Iyada, was his lover.

He also admitted orchestrating her murder for money-making ritual. The policemen launched investigation into the case on November 15 following a letter of complaint from Abosede’s parents, Mr and Mrs Segun Adeyemi, residing at Plot 2 Adio Idris Close, Oke Oko in Ifo Local Government Area.

The complaint was lodged at the IRT office, Ogun State annex. According to the distraught parents, Abosede, who was married and had a child left her husband’s house in the morning of that fateful day to visit Olaniyi popularly known as “Agba Isegun,”a native doctor at Ifo area.

Thereafter, Abosede’s whereabouts were unknown. Attempts to call her phone were abortive as it remained permanently switched off. After the policemen launched investigation into the disappearance of the woman, they started tracking her phone and that of Olaniyi. Olaniyi was tracked and arrested in Abeokuta area of Ogun State. During interrogation, he claimed that he and Abosede were lovers, that she came to visit him on November 15, but that on arrival at his place, he and his friends, Fagbon and AY, who were desperately in need of money, abducted and took her to a secluded area, where they butchered her and sold her body parts to interested buyers within Ogun and Lagos states.

It was gathered that following Olaniyi’s confessions, the policemen moved to Abeokuta and different villages like Ifo, Itori, Papalanto and Adigbe area where 11 suspects were arrested. Among those arrested, eight confessed to kidnapping and killing and buying of the body parts of the victim.

The number of those arrested soon increased to 13. A source said: “Abosede and the prime suspect were secondary school lovers. They later parted ways and married other spouses. We understand that Abosede had been having series of problems with her husband, who is a commercial motorcycle rider. Somehow, she reconnected with Olaniyi, who is now an herbalist. This reconnection with Olaniyi came after 15 years. Olaniyi, the herbalist, was perceived as being rich.

He used to give the deceased N2000 every day. She soon started going to visit him and soon, both of them started sleeping together. She would tell her husband that she was going to work, but would go to the suspect’s place. “She had earlier told the suspect to help her to become wealthy. So on that fateful day she came, Olaniyi told her to go to the stream with his two friends to strip and wash her hair. She went with them, they held her down inside the stream and stabbed her to death. They then brought her out and deboned her before selling her flesh.

One of the herbalists arrested told us that Olaniyi used charm placed on his tongue to speak to the victim, which made her to obey and do whatever he asked her to do.” Those arrested in connection with the killing and buying of Abosede’s body parts are; Segun Olaniyi (42), Ayodemeji Adileye (25) aka AY, also known as human being butcher, Babalola Akanbi (48), Adeifa Sogbeyinde (37), Rasaq Arabs (27), Sunday Akinyemi (41), Adewole Olwafemi (38) aka Pastor, Mustapha Ajibola (31) aka Alfa, Mustapha Iliya (30), Shilola Amodu (38) aka Alfa, Jamiu Abass (25) , Smooth Kazeem (37) aka Alfa and Adesola Oduyemi (56). The policemen recovered substances confessed by the suspects to be burnt human parts of Abosede. Some of the substances were in powdery and liquid forms. According to the suspects, it was Olaniyi that invited friends to come and slaughter his childhood sweetheart, who was married to another man. Our reporter gathered that on the fateful day that Abosede was murdered, she got to Olaniyi’s office, which was his shrine tired. Olaniyi had instructed a friend to go and buy food for the tired woman. Olaniyi put drug in the food, which made her weak and sleepy. Olaniyi later told her to go to the stream, by the side of his shrine, to strip and wash her hair.

He told his friends, Ayo and Akambi, to escort her to the stream for the spiritual bath. While she was washing her hair, Ayo pushed her head into the water and held her down; he then brought out a knife from his pocket and stabbed her to death. She was then carried out of the stream and laid on a dry ground.

It was right there on the ground, that Ayo, the human butcher, allegedly deboned her and sliced the flesh into tiny pieces for sale. A police source said: “They sold her head, bones and flesh to Alfas, pastors and others, who wanted to do money ritual.

The parts that were not needed for the ritual were roasted and the suspects ate them and drank spirit “to wash them down”. The IRT operatives recovered decomposed human breast, burnt human flesh mixed with liquid substance in a bottle and calabash.

One complete human foot, pieces of dry human skull, one Laura SUV with registration number KTU801Fp, one Bajaj Boxer motorcycle, marked JGB019VC, one unregistered Toyota Corolla and one Toyota Matrix marked AKD703FU, were also recovered.” Olaniyi, who said that he was from Osun State, explained that he dropped out of school when he was in primary five.

He is married to two women and has four childern. He said: “I’m a native doctor. I learnt welding work before I became a native doctor. It was at the back of Ojoba, Abule Egba area of Lagos, in the house of one native doctor, Dr. Iyawonu, that I learnt how to become a native doctor. I talk to oracle to give me solution to my customers’ health challenge

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How killers of Maersk Shipping Line MD’s wife were arrested

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How killers of Maersk Shipping Line MD’s wife were arrested

Fresh information has emerged on how the police in Lagos State arrested two suspects who invaded the Ikoyi residence of the Managing Director of Maersk Shipping Line Company and killed his wife, Gildas Tohouo. According to the police, the suspects on Sunday night, invaded the Lugard, Ikoyi home of the shipping magnate and killed his wife.

The murder was done moments after one of their children just finished her birthday celebration. The invaders killed Gildas and injured her husband. It was gathered that the police, in an operation led by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, arrested the killers less than an hour after the attack.

The alleged killers were later identified as Goke Olamilekan, an electrician in the estate and his friend, Akande Adeyinka. It was further gathered that Olamilekan allegedly invited Adeyinka to assist him carry out the dreadful act. Our reporter gathered that immediately Odumosu received the information about the attack on the foreigners, he immediately dashed to the scene of the crime. The CP was on patrol when he received the distress call. He swiftly moved to the scene, where he mobilised the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) and the Area Commander in the area. One of the two suspects, Akande, was alleged to have climbed a mango tree to evade arrest. He was found on the mango tree by Odumosu and was subsequently arrested.

He was then used as a bait to catch his partner in crime. A police source said: “That Sunday night operation was effective and timely. The CP personally led the operation that eventually witnessed the arrest of the suspects. The two suspects would have escaped from the scene, if the CP and his men had not arrived on time. In fact, we had all given up on finding the killers. It was the CP that vehemently insisted that before we leave, the whole estate should be combed thoroughly. We didn’t want to embark on any search because it was already dark, but he is the CP. It was late and everybody wanted to go home, but the CP insisted that we must get something that would help, in not just the investigation, but also to quickly arrest the perpetrators.

We didn’t agree with him, but we had to obey. We started searching the estate. Lo and behold, we saw someone hid-ing on a mango tree. It was unbelievable. It was incredible. That was how we caught one of the suspects. Those suspects would have escaped if the CP had not gone there himself. One of them was hiding and no one would have thought that anyone would climb a tree to hide.

“At a time, people felt that it was late and that everybody should go but the CP went to his vehicle and brought out a torch. He was beaming the torchlight in different directions, when he pointed it up the tree and there was one of the suspects hiding there.” Preliminary investigations by the police also revealed that the two suspects had planned the operation for three weeks, before eventually carrying it out last Sunday. The police also found out that the two suspects hid their weapons in one of the vacant flats in the estate and strategised on how to carry out the operation.

The electrician had told his partner to lie to the security guards attached to the estate that he was going to see a certain Mr Max, which coincidentally, is the name of one of the residents in the estate. Olamilekan had earlier told the police that the attack was carried out on the couple because he had asked for assistance, which they allegedly refused to render.

 

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UNICEF-EU interventions strengthen healthcare delivery in Adamawa

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UNICEF-EU interventions strengthen healthcare delivery in Adamawa

Adamawa

In its efforts to strengthen healthcare delivery in Mubi South Local Government Area of Adamawa State, UNICEF, in conjunction with EU, has given a total facelift to healthcare facilities across the Local Government. The effort of UNICEF-EU in boosting healthcare delivery in the area has started yielding dividends as the total rejuvenation of the sector has led to a concomitant rise of health condition of indigenes. With this development, pregnant women, children and other vulnerable groups are positively affected in many facets of UNICEF- EU interventions in the rural areas.

Our Correspondent who went on a fact-finding mission to Mubi South Local Government Area of Adamawa State to ascertain the level of health interventions embarked upon by UNICEF spoke to the Executive Secretary Primary Health Care Agency Mr Kabiru Biru, who said UNICEF interventions continue to gather momentum. He said 108 Community Oriented Resource Persons (CORP) had been trained and mobilised to communities to sensitise the people.

Biru explained that apart from accepting the programmes of UNICEF, the CORP equally influenced functional ward development committees with the involvement of traditional and religious leaders in the local government area.

“To take the UNICEF interventions to the door posts of the community, CORP were equally trained to give treatment to malaria patients and other related diseases in the council area” Biru stated. He applauded the intervention efforts of the UNICEF-EU and contributing immensely to the supply of essential drugs, equipment, renovation of health facilities as well as building staff capacity. The Executive Secretary added that in an effort to meet the demands of the citizens especially at the “hard to reach” terrains, UNICEF supplied nine (9) motorcycles to CORP and Mama to Mama in mobilizing women for antenatal and immunization which has tremendously helped mothers and children from pregnancy to birth. According to him, to boost the coverage routine of UNICEF, 200 boreholes were dug with construction of toilets in all primary schools to improve the sanitary and hygienic conditions of the area through the establishment of “WASH”. While calling for the continuation of UNICEF interventions in the area, Biru said that over 15,500 women had benefitted from the free immunization and antenatal interventions thereby reducing cases of maternal mortality in the area. Also speaking the Director Public HealthCare Centre in Gella, Mr Marafa Musa, said UNICEF intervention has recently increased women participation from 10 to over 40 in a month. Musa noted that the patronage is encouraging as many families now use the centre more than before and thanked UNICEF for bringing such initiative.

At Lamorde PHC, Mrs Rifkatu Joel explained that between 50 and 70 patients attend the antenatal clinics daily while outpatients record between 20 and 50 daily. Joel thanked UNICEF for the renovation of the centre, provision of adequate drugs and mosquito nets as well as fencing the entire premises to checkmate the activities of miscreants. Commenting, a mother Hajya Safiyu Bello said she enjoyed patronizing the maternity clinics which makes for safe delivery. She said: “Many pregnant women rely on the intervention of the clinics due to the awareness and sensitisation by the Mama to Mama group and the CORP. My appeal to UNICEF is to continue with the interventions to save many women and children lives.” The District Head of Mubi South of Adamawa State, Alhaji Sali Bello said the many interventions of UNICEF through the support of EU have brought a lot of live saving changes to mothers in the state. He maintained that before the UNICEF intervention in his domain, pregnant women had it difficult and rough to attend hospitals because of certain traditional and religious beliefs which made them decide to give birth at home. Alhaji Bello the Hakimi Gude in Mubi South Local Government Area of Adamawa State who stated this in his palace said the coverage of EU-MNCHN projects at designated communities in Mubi South has rekindled the hope of the women and children. According to him, “pregnant women hardly accessed healthcare delivery easily and when they were fortunate to access one, they ended up in healthcare facilities that are often inadequate without trained personnel.”

The Royal Father said that the introduction and training of the “Community Oriented Resource Person” (CORP), actually helped in creating awareness in the communities. On antenatal, Hakimi Gude recalled that before now, many mothers sometimes refused antenatal due to poverty and lack of awareness, except when labour becomes complicated, in which case they would end up being rushed to medical facilities as emergencies. He noted that in such situations some of them lose their lives or their babies. While applauding the efforts of the EU-UNICEF in renovating some moribund health care centers in the community, he said “before the intervention, some of the buildings were inside a large grassland and homes to undesirable reptiles.

The intervention is unquantifiable and should be encouraged by all.” Speaking in the same vein, the Officer In Charge of Maternal and Child Health- Care in Gella Public Health Centre, Mrs Susana T Moni said the response by expected mothers had been encouraging. Mrs Susana Moni said: “Sometimes we visited them at home twice a week as sign of encouragement and to enable them to respond positively to their medications as and when due.”

She advised couples to plan their pregnancies, attend antenatal as a way of reducing health risks, and thanked UNICEF for the intervention, assuring them that the items would be used judiciously used for the purpose they’re meant for. Also speaking, Madam Saa’datu Ibrahim of Yahuma ward said: “I never gave birth in the hospital even though I am aware of the assistance from UNICEF and other foreign donors.” Ibrahim appealed for other incentives like details and antiseptics apart from the mosquito nets that will help the babies.

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LAGOS EXPLOSION: Community becomes hostile

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LAGOS EXPLOSION: Community becomes hostile

…threatens to beat up journalists

 

Residents of Iyana Odo in the Isheri-Olofin, Igando area of Lagos State, who were supposed to be mourning their dead following the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) pipeline that exploded on Thursday, have turned their anger to journalists. It was a narrow escape for the Saturday Telegraph team who visited the scene of the explosion and the community to get a firsthand story on the explosion. Right from the entrance of the street that leads to the explosion site, the residents, who claimed to have been maligned by the press, suspects any unfamiliar face to be a reporter.

 

They claimed that journalists had not been fair in their reportage of the deadly incident. The grouse, our reporter gathered from a source, who preferred to be anonymous, was what the community perceived as an expose that could put them on a collision course with the state government. It was further gather that the burnt wooden bridge, which link Iyana Odo to Diamond Estate and its neighbours, such as Gloryland, Peace and Idowu Egba estates, is the main source of income to many in the neighbourhood. The people, according to our source, have vowed to protect what they see as means of livelihood with the last drop of their blood.

 

Apart from that, the site of the explosion, according to the information gathered, had also been a conduit pipe for siphoning petroleum products by youths of the community.

 

“This is our farm and any attempt by anybody or group of person to take overe our farm will be highly resisted. We don’t want government presence here as we are comfortable with the way we leave in this community. We don’t have another means of livelihood and if the reports are geared towards drawing government attention to this community, it won’t succeed. “Explosions happen everywhere, ours should not be seen from a different light. We don’t want your useless report on this issue, as we are capable of taking care of the damaged wooden bridge,” said one of the angry men, who confronted our reporter. The burnt wooden bridge links the community with Diamond and Gloryland estates. It was gathered that motorists pay N100 as toll fee while pedestrians are made to cough up the sum of N50 if they must make use of the bridge. However, the incident that left the bridge partially burnt have not deterred the residents from collecting money from whoever that wishes to make use of it. Though motorists now take the Expressway because the bridge is broken into two. Pedestrians who use it has to meander to avoid falling into the river.

 

The fire, which was said to have started around 6.30am on Thursday, was said to have badly injured one person and killing another. The burnt bridge was made of planks in the area. While the residents said that a pastor had gone to the river beneath the wooden bridge with another member for spiritual cleansing, another version said suspected vandals, who frequent the vicinity to siphon fuel had ruptured the NNPC pipeline for several days without covering it up.

 

The bridge, which links Idowu Egba and Ayobo communities, was also gutted. The fire spread from Iyana Odo to Idowu Egba Road to Baruwa, Ipaja and Ayobo areas. Other places are Isheri Pako area inside Peace Estate. It was gathered that the men, who were not aware that petrol from the vandalised pipeline had flowed into the stream, lit a candle and were engulfed in flames.

 

A resident, who craved anonymity, said upon sighting the fire, the pastor conducting the cleansing, attempted to escape but was caught up by the fire. “Those caught up in the inferno were having a spiritual bath around a stream in the area.

 

The pastor sustained serious burns while his second was burnt beyond recognition. However, the pas- LAGOS EXPLOSION tor was admitted to the Igando General Hospital for treatment.” At the Alimosho General Hospital, Igando, the Medical Director/CEO, Dr. Madewa Adebajo, confirmed that the hospital received one patient on Thursday that was severely burnt. He said: “One person was brought in here with high degree of burns. After we administered first aid and what he needed at the time, we had to refer him to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUCOM), Ikeja, because we do not have burns and shock equipment here to manage the case. “We did all we could at the time and promptly referred the patient for better management in the teaching hospital.

 

The little information gathered from the patient indicated that they were two at the time of the incident and that the second died immediately. We were shocked by reports, which have been quoting that two, some actually said that three persons died in the inferno. We can’t confirm that here because we don’t have such information,” Adebajo said. Men of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rapid Response Squad and policemen from neighbouring divisions were said to have responded promptly to the disaster. A police source, according to reports, also said that pipeline vandalism appeared a popular venture among the residents of the area.

 

The source added that sacks used to convey stolen fuel were recovered in the bush. “That place is where they siphon fuel regularly. The residents cannot say they don’t know what is happening. We found kegs and sacks. Inside the sacks were nylons, where they pour the fuel.

 

They use the sacks to conceal and convey the fuel,” the source was quoted to have said. But in quick reaction, another source in the community, who refused to give his name, alleged that policemen were the ones actually aiding the vandals.

 

“They come to the site every week to collect their share. We learnt they collect N500,000 every week from the vandals to conceal the crime. We are in trouble in this community,” the source added. The Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Nosa Okunbor, who confirmed one death, said the second victim was in a critical condition. “What we gathered from bystanders was that the victims were performing a spiritual cleansing when the fire met them there and burnt them. But the pastor escaped. We saw the sponge they used for the spiritual exercise at the scene,” he said. And the Public Affairs Officer of the Lagos State Fire Service, Jamiu Dosumu, also quoted by Punch newspaper, had said that two fire stations deployed men in the scene to extinguish the fire.

 

Dosumu said: “The fire started from a pipeline, went through a canal and met some people undertaking a spiritual bath. One of them died, while the other suffered severe burns. Fire stations from Ikotun and Abesan responded to the emergency.” Meanwhile, another report by The Punch quoted the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Bala Elkana, to have said that a pastor and one other suspect, identified as Smart Adeyemi, had been arrested. Elkana, according to the report, explained that the pastor had denied knowledge of the activities of vandals in the area, but when his premises were searched, kegs of stolen fuel were recovered.

 

“The fire started deep in the bush. The only building close to the scene is owned by a pastor. Looking closely at him, you will know he is aware of what is happening. The police interrogated him, but he denied the knowledge of anything. The police decided to search the vicinity and found a lot of kegs of siphoned fuel, all of them hidden in his house. He is already in custody.”

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Grand pianos, mattresses, TVs, computers top list of items guests steal from hotels in Europe –Report

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Grand pianos, mattresses, TVs, computers top list of  items guests steal from hotels in Europe –Report

It’s becoming alarming in Nigeria, say hoteliers

 

 

Hotel guests appear to have graduated from carting away complimentary items in the room meant for their use and comfort to carrying bulk items such as grand piano, luxury TV set and mattresses. This is according to a recent study by Wellness Heaven and published by: www.insights.ehotelier. com However, what is most worrisome is that this development is not limited to Europe and other parts of the world alone but also rampant in Nigeria.

 

A number of hoteliers spoken to by Saturday Telegraph expressed concerns over the high rate of pilfering of such items as face and body towels, tea cups and pots, wine glasses and drinking glasses, soap and other toiletries and in some extreme cases bed linens, compressor of air conditioners and boards of TV set.

 

Wellness Heaven in the study polled 1,157 hoteliers on most commonly stolen items from the rooms, with particular reference on the attitude or behavoiur of guests in 4-star and 5-star hotels. The main result of the study: The overwhelming majority of guests steal towels and bathrobes- perhaps as goodies for the next spa break? These two objects of desire are closely followed by hangers, pens, and cutlery. In addition to these “ordinary” items, there are a number of spectacular outliers that suggest a brisk imagination of the delinquents.

 

Items in this category are bathroom fittings, with the head of a rain shower, a hydro massage shower, a toilet seat, a drainpipe or even an entire sink, rating high as reported by a Berlin hotel. In Italy, an hotelier reported the missing of a grand piano.

 

“Once I walked through the lobby, I noticed that something was missing, and soon after I learned that three unknown men in overalls had taken away the grand piano, and it never reappeared, of course,” said the hotelier. In England, an hotelier reported the missing of room numbers from the hotel room door. “We didn’t notice until the next guest could not find his room,” said the hotel director.

 

While in a hotel in France, a guest was caught trying to steal a stuffed boar’s head. At a later date, he did receive this trophy: friends bought the precious piece from the hotel and gave it to him as a wedding gift. In a hotel near Salzburg, the wooden benches from a sauna were stolen. The “private sauna” was located on the terrace of a spa suite.

 

The benches were made of fragrant pine wood, which probably stirred the guest’s desire. Only when a subsequent guest criticised the absence of the benches that the hotelier noticed the theft. Some of other items on the list included entire stereo system stolen from the spa area as reported by an hotelier in Germany, with the thieves said to have dismantled the entire sound equipment overnight and loaded it in their car before they left. Stealing of flowers was reported from a resort in Maldives. But when classifying the delinquents by nationality, a different picture emerges.

 

It turns out, for example, that German and British hotel guests follow a rather boring theft behaviour: In addition to towels and bathrobes, primarily cosmetics and toiletries are in the focus. In contrast, Austrians snitch in a more pleasure-oriented way: dishes and coffee machines appear high up in their theft ranking.

 

For Americans, pillows and batteries appear as the prime objects of desire. Italians seem to prefer wine glasses as a hotel souvenir, while the hairdryer ranks high up in the Swiss ranking. The French, on the other hand, steal in a more spectacular manner: they represent the nation that is attracted mainly to TV sets and remote controls. Dutch hotel guests’ favourites include light bulbs and toilet paper.

 

A total of 634 hoteliers from 4-star hotels and 523 from 5-star hotels were surveyed to determine the behaviour of thieves depending on their wealth. As it turns out, “Greed is good” seems to be a reliable motto especially for the well-heeled 5-star clientele. The probability of high-quality TV sets being stolen in 5-star hotels is 9 times higher in comparison to the 4-star segment.

 

 

 

Similarly, artworks are popular objects of desire in luxury hotels (5.5 times higher theft probability)s. Tablet computers and mattresses are also being stolen a lot more frequently in 5-star hotels. 4-star hotel guests are content with less spectacular gifts: towels and hangers tend to be in higher demand than in 5-star hotels. The typical 4-star hotel guest is especially fond of practical items such as batteries and remote controls.

 

 

The coffeemaker, which is so popular among Austrian guests, is also soughtafter by luxury-minded 5-star guests, as we observe a 5.3-fold increase in theft statistics. Hoteliers’ theft reports about toilet paper rolls only come from the 4-star segment. For luxury travellers, there seems to be no additional need for hygiene in this area. Tablet computers, often referred to as “SuitePads” in the high-priced room categories, are stolen 8.2 times more frequently in 5-star hotels.

 

Such tablets usually have a value of approx. 420 euros and tend to be popular souvenirs among luxury travellers. Even expensive luxury mattresses, often worth several thousand euros, are not immune to disappear: the probability for their theft is 8.1 times higher in 5-star hotels. Some hoteliers informed that carting away of bulky items only happens in the middle of the night – using elevators, which lead directly to the underground parking. Some luxury oriented guests add the hotel’s blanket to their luggage.

 

Theft of this object is 3.9-fold increased in 5-star hotels. The survey was conducted in September and October 2019, with 634 hoteliers surveyed in the 4-star segment, and 523 in the 5-star segment. Giving insight into the situation in Nigeria, Gbenga Dauud Sumonu, who is the Managing Consultant, Complete Hospitality Services Limited and the First Vice President of Nigerian Hotel and Catering Institute (NHCI), said stealing of items in hotel rooms is becoming alarming. ‘‘It is very alarming now because they see it as picking souvenirs and no more as theft, which makes the situ- ation really bad for the hotels,’’ he said, adding that: ‘‘They pick towels as souvenirs.’’

 

Other items listed by him include: Wine glasses, cutlers, tea cups and tea pots in the rooms as well as room brochures and directories. While soap, body cream, shampoo, body cream, taste paste and brush and shower cap and other toiletries meant for use in the rooms by the guests are often taken away by them. On stealing of bigger items, Sumonu said: ‘‘It is not common to have a guest steal a bigger item like bed sheet and other movable items. But sometimes when the bed sheets are multiple layers they tend to steal one from it.’’

 

While confirming the prevalence of theft of items listed by Sumonu, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Compass Hotels and Suites Limited, Samson Aturu, who is also the President of Hospitality and Tour ism Management Association of Nigeria (HATMAN), however, stated that in from the mid-1980s to 1990s stealing of bigger items was very rampant in hotel rooms in Nigeria.

 

Such items as compressor of air conditioners and boards of television set, he said top the list of bulky items stolen by guests. On the gender aspect of such theft, Sumonu and Aturu said that female guests are the most guilty, saying that a number of them usually accompany the male guests. On strategies to curb the prevalence, Sumonu said it is to apply the standard check out procedure and also increase surveillance and use of CCTV.

 

In addition, Aturu said hotels put notices on the doors of the room cautioning guests on theft of items in the room. ‘‘Standard check out practice, third eye by using the CCTV, security alertness by the staff. And when a guest comes in with a small bag and is checking out with a big bag you have to be suspicious, ‘’ said Sumonu.

 

 

‘‘One of the strategies we use is putting notices in the rooms, at the back of the door to let guests know that every item in the room is for their comfort,’’ said Aturu, adding that: ‘‘Another measure is checking out procedure.

 

When you are checking out, it is very essential that you should notify the receptionist and the receptionist will now instruct the porter or the page boy to go and assist with your luggage and in the process verify to see that all the amenities are intact. ‘‘We also have plainclothes security men who are positioned at different corridors of the hotel. Most of the times the guests do not even known that they are security men.’’

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Orifite killings: Youths flee homes as JTF storms community

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Orifite killings: Youths flee homes as JTF storms community

Orifite community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State has become a ghost town following the fleeing of youths and some villagers in the area since the deployment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) made up of the police and soldiers. It would be recalled that two masquerade cult groups had been at war over who heads the traditional leadership of the community’s masquerade organisation which led to the clash by both rival groups of Otu Eke and Out- Afor respectively. The clash led to the invitation of the rival groups by the Anambra State police command. But one of the groups, Otu-Eke, led by the lawyer of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOP) Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor refused to honour the invitation. It was the refusal of the Out-Eke masquerade cult to honour the invitation that led to the police embarking on the arrest of the group who are also members of IPOB.

 

It was this that led to the killing and burning of the Area Commander Ichi town and the officerin- charge of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Orifite, Abbey Oliver and Joseph Akubo by suspected youths of the masquerade cult.

 

When this reporter visited the town youths in the area have taken flight for fear of being arrested by the Joint Security Task Force. Some villagers who are scared of being arrested fled also. Everistus Nwosu, a trader told Saturday Telegraph that: “The Police and army people are so many and the way they are operating in our community shows that innocent people would be at the receiving end in the aftermath of these killings.

 

“So you cannot expect youths in our town to be walking about the town freely without the police trying something funny and it may lead to another clash between the boys and the security task force.”

 

 

Mrs. Ngozika Izuchukwu a teacher told Saturday Telegraph that there have been reports of harassment by some policemen of the villagers. She said: “I don’t know how true it is but people have been complaining of harassment by security men who claim that they are searching for the boys that killed the OC SARS and the Area Commander. So everybody is afraid of the security men and our town is under tension.” Currently, over 80 policemen and soldiers are already in charge of security formations and major flash points of crime in the community.

 

According to the President General of Orifite Improvement Union (OIU) Sir Sunny Igboanuzue, “You know that we have banned all masquerade groups in our town because of this incident and the presence of security men here is to maintain law and order and we have not experienced any problem between the community and the security men. “People should remain calm and go about their lawful duties because we are also here to settle whatever fallout that may arise.” According to the public relations officer of the command in Anambra State Mr Mohammed Haruna who spoke to Saturday Telegraph there are no proofs of any act of harassment by policemen.

 

He further stated that such allegations should be put in writing by the affected villagers and forwarded to the office of the Commissioner of police for necessary action. Haruna also stated that the prime suspect in connection with the killing of the OC SARS and the Area Command for Ekwusigo is still at large and that the command is continuing the hunt for him and his cohorts. But Haruna contended that the officers and men deployed in the community were given express order to maintain law and order in the area and that anyone saying something contrary is only trying to deceive the public.

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FIRE IN MARKETPLACES: We don’t believe in insurance policy –Traders

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FIRE IN MARKETPLACES: We don’t believe in insurance policy –Traders

In the face of heavy losses incurred by traders across the country in some recent major market fire outbreaks, many of them are still reluctant to insure their products and businesses or are ignorant of what insurance policy could do to help them maintain balance whenever such disaster happens. ISIOMA MADIKE, in this report, captures the losses, the ignorance and the benefits, which the traders often overlook

 

 

Over five major markets across the country have experienced fire outbreaks in recent time, resulting in losses worth billions of naira. It started on Wednesday, October 16, when a fuel tanker fire accident claimed several lives, buildings and properties in the famed Onitsha Main Market in Anambra State. The market is regarded as one of the busiest in the Eastern part of Nigeria.

 

The traders in that market were still agonising over the incident when another occurred on October 21. This time around, shops were razed, and goods worth millions of naira were reportedly consumed at the Santana Market, Sapele Road in Benin, Edo State capital. Balogun Market on Lagos Island, known for its wide selection of colorful Nigerian and imported fabrics and school bags, was equally on fire on November 5. It was speculated that the fire was sparked by an electrical fault. Before then, a massive fire had swept through the popular Oko-Baba Sawmill, a slum market in Ebute-Meta area of Lagos, on November 3. Several shanties were said to be up in flames as residents ran helter and shelter trying to salvage their belongings.

 

The GSM market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was also on fire in which numerous properties and shops were reportedly destroyed. The market, popularly known as Jagwol, is located at the Post Office area of the Maiduguri metropolis.

 

 

It is a hub for GSM traders and artisans and the biggest computer village in the city. And recently on December 1, fire again destroyed over 30 shops and damaged other properties at the Owode-Oniri Market in Lagos State.

 

The cause of the inferno was unknown as there is no power supply within the market. However, in separate interviews with the traders, many of them said they would not insure their goods or businesses because they believed that insurance companies were not sincere. There were also those who were ignorant of how the insurance policy works.

 

For instance, former chairman, Bag Sellers Association of Nigeria, Balogun Market branch, Ignatius Akunedoziobi, said the traders were usually reluctant because most insurance companies delayed in paying compensation over property insured whenever tragedy occurred. He said: “The experience of a few of our members that registered with them (insurance firms) is unpleasant.

 

These insurance companies are diligent in collecting premiums but when it is time for compensation, they will start demanding unnecessary things. One   of our members was asked to bring receipts for goods bought many years before the fire outbreak that gutted his shop sometimes last year.’’ Another victim of the recent fire outbreak at Balogun Market, Peter Chima, also said the confidence many traders had in insurance companies, was gradually fading away.

 

Chima said he stopped insuring his goods because he did not see the need for it. But in what looked like a contradiction, Chima said he regretted not insuring his goods, adding that he lost goods worth several thousands of naira in the recent fire outbreak in the market. “All that insurance people are concerned about is the collection of premiums, after that, nothing else.

 

At least, we expected them to tell us what happens to the money if no losses are recorded after a period of time,” he said. Motunrayo Adeneye, who also lost her goods in the fire that gutted Balogun Market, told one of our reporters that her grouse with the insurance companies was that they asked too many questions and are usually not sincere about the policy they want to sell. They can hardly get traders selling here at Balogun to buy their policies because of their insincerity, she said.

 

“Some of us learnt our lessons from people who insured their businesses and got nothing when disaster occurred. That is the time you see insurance companies coming up with funny clauses that were not initially disclosed.

 

At the end of the day, we see such exercise as a one in futility,” Adeneye said. The Babaloja (Leader) of the famed Ketu-Ikosi Fruit Market in the Ketu area of Lagos State, Lambe Dauda, said that the premiums charged by the insurance companies scared off the traders, who did not see the need for it in the first instance. He said: “Their premiums are just too high; some of us collected loans from the banks to float our businesses and we are still repaying with interest. We pay close to N2 million per annum as rent on our shops; this is apart from other expenses. So, it will be good if insurance companies can bring down the premium they demand.

 

 

That way many of our members could be persuaded to give it a try. “I personally think it’s necessary in view of the recent fire disasters across many markets, not only in Lagos here but all over the country. It’s a welcome idea if you ask me but the insurance companies should be sincere and open for us to understand their policies and the benefits. Most of us are not too literate, so, we need to fully understand the import of what they are selling to us and how such could be of benefit to the traders on the long run.”

 

 

Also speaking to Saturday Telegraph, the Financial Secretary of the Ketu-Ikosi Fruit Market, Tajudeen Talin, said the traders had not thought of insuring the market. Talin said insurance operators had not been visiting them regularly.

 

“The last insurance company that was here came two years ago and we introduced the company to our members, afterwards we did not see them again. Our members lack enlightenment; they find it hard to inculcate other things into their business apart from buying and selling. However, I believe it’ll be wrong to force people to take an insurance policy without proper education.”

 

 

Talin also said that some traders had not taken up any insurance policy because of their religious beliefs. He recalled that some insurance companies had come to the market to sell their products but most traders were not interested.

 

The Admin Secretary of Lagos Mainland Saw Millers Association of Nigeria, Nurudeen Lawal, said that there was nothing like insurance policy in Oko- Baba Sawmill, a slum market at Ebute- Meta, Lagos.

 

 

He however, believes that no insurance company will want to take such risk because, according to him, the environment already looks like it is prone to fire outbreak. He said: “The risk will be too much for them (insurance firms), so, this market is not attractive to them.

 

Some banks have been here to address us on a number of times. One insurance company at Sabo was also here. We actually listened to them but when they see that the policy and packaging they want to introduce to us do not favour them, they just stylishly promised to return to us. But that never happens. “I think our industry is not the type they can invest in because of the high risk.

 

Our market is built into a residential area and that makes our merchandise more vulnerable to fire incidents. The fire that happened recently started from a small 8 by 10 house and the owner of the house was not around. If we had taken an insurance policy, how would they have compensated everybody?”

 

Brendan Okafor of Emmy Bright Company, who sells clothes and footwear at the popular Dugbe Market in Ibadan, Oyo State, said he did not believe in insurance policies. “I don’t have any insurance policy.

 

I don’t have fire insurance and this is   because insurance in Nigeria is not something to write home about. They are not relevant in Nigeria. This is because many people do not believe in it. “If one subscribes to it, by the time you need their intervention, they will be telling you all sorts of stories; dribbling you around like a fool. It may be working well in overseas, but in Nigeria, it is a different ball game. It is a good idea, no doubt, if only practitioners in Nigeria can make it work like those in other climes,” he said.

 

Asked what preventive measure he takes to safeguard his goods and business since he did not believe in insurance cover, the trader said: “I have fire extinguisher and other fire preventive devices in case there is any incident of fire outbreak. To the insurance companies, my advice is that they should be transparent in their dealings. Let them explain in details the contents of the policy they are selling.

Trust is everything. People don’t trust the insurance companies and they too are not helping matters as they hide some secrets from customers at the point of taking a policy. That supposed not to be. “They should explain to the customers the workings of whatever policy being taken. This is because not all traders are literate enough to understand how it works. If there is no trust, many people like me will not want to take insurance policies.

 

 

If there is any incident of fire outbreak, the insurance operators should come out clean and not play any prank on the investment of the policy holders.” Another trader in Dugbe Market, Emeka Sunday of E.C. Diamond Company, however, has a different view about insurance policies.

 

Though he said he was not sure whether his boss had ever taken any insurance policy before. “I am not sure my boss insured this shop or the goods in it because I am not the owner. I am not even sure if any trader around here believes in fire insurance policy. But by the time I have my own shop I will make sure I insure it because of the benefits. It will not only be my shop but my property generally. Anything can happen anytime and so to be on the safe side and guard against severe losses, the best thing is to take insurance cover. It is very essential. Though many people don’t like it because of the high premium they will pay,” he said.

 

A woman trader, who sells travel bags also in Dugbe Market but preferred to be   anonymous, said she took Life Insurance policy some years ago, but she was no longer active in payment of premium.

 

She said that she refused to take fire insurance policy because she did not believe in insurance companies redeeming the loss through compensation payment. Apart from relying on the power of prayers, she said she was always very cautious not to allow fire to break out in her shop. In view of the seemingly ignorant position of the traders concerning insurance policies and addressing issues related to the risk protection and incessant market fires, Saturday Telegraph, asked some insurance experts how fire-risk protection could be worked into the architecture of market administration across the country.

 

 

Head, Corporate Communications, Nigerian Insurers’ Association, Davies Iyasere, said: “If you want me to answer it, I’d just say, education, awareness, and preaching.

 

“It’s like trying to convert one from a position to another; you need to really classify it first. People talk of one concept, the mosquito marketing. I don’t know if you have heard it before. If a mosquito visits your ear, when it comes, it makes some noise. If you want to kill it, it flies away. It comes back in the next five or three minutes, if you want to kill it, it tries to draw your attention that it is still around. I believe that it will work; to continue to reinforce messages to them.

 

“Let them know and if there are beneficiaries among them, those that have had encounters with insurance and had benefited from it, their testimonies will really go a long way. I believe that some of them are also not opening up to other viewpoints because none of them will claim not to have come across one insurance marketer or the other but it’s just that they consider insurance as some form of robbery or some kind of illicit endeavour. That concept, that idea about insurance has to change.

 

It is a way of life and the sooner they make it a way of life the better for them.” On the issue of high premium     the traders complained about and the possibility of not being able to receive claims in the event of a disaster, Iyasere believes it’s a matter of understanding. He said that the traders needed to understand that insurance people were in business also.

 

 

He said: “I’d just recommend that they go to an insurance agent or broker, who will explain the details of the insurance contract to them so that they can understand it fully because, if you buy a car and you insure it against accident or fire and you run into a mob, and they damage it. That one is not like normal accident or fire.

 

 

It’s as a result of mob action. You didn’t hit another vehicle, you were not just driving on the road and your vehicle got burnt, but you perhaps ran into a mob and because of mob action, they damaged your vehicle. “If you come and claim under that, they will tell you it’s not covered.

 

Those are the details they need to know; the exclusions, the extensions that the package they are taking, covers. So, I will advise that they ask the insurance marketers to explain to them all the details of everything, the type of insurance product they are taking, covers. “On high premium, they should know that premium is a function of what you are covering. If you buy a Gwagon, for instance, for N10 million, it would not be the same as somebody who is using a Corolla car of less value.

 

So, it’s a function of the volume, or the premium you attach to what your policy covers. “If you buy a G-wagon and you want to cover it as just a third party vehicle you pay five per cent, but if you want to do it for comprehensive, you pay like 10 per cent of the cost. Maybe through negotiation they can come down to eight, seven or five, as the case may be, but it is the premium you place on your property that determines what you pay and what you get when it is time for claims.

 

“What I’m saying in effect is that what you pay determines what you get when something happens. If you do a third party for five per cent, you can’t expect that when you damage your vehicle, you ask them to pay.

 

Third party only covers the other person you have damaged his vehicle but if it’s comprehensive, you can take care of your own, and that of the other person. So, they need to be educated, they need to be enlightened, and they need to be constantly engaged.” Another insurance expert, who does not want his name in print, said: “Fire insurance is an affordable insurance policy yet most people do not subscribe to it.

 

 

The level of public apathy towards fire insurance can be attributed to various factors such as lack of confidence in the insurance sector (owing to the belief that insurance companies do not pay claims), poor awareness creation by both the government and the insurance companies, traditional and religious beliefs (a judgmental attribute that holds strongly to the ‘god’ or ‘deity’ factor) that defines the way of our people.”

 

Additional reports from Sola Adeyemo (Ibadan) and Oluwasanya Oluwatoni

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Dame Edith Okowa: Benefactor per excellence

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Dame Edith Okowa: Benefactor per excellence

 

 

T

he streak of impact of her milk of human kindness, fondness and affinity with the less-privileged has marked her out as a woman of benevolence. This uncommon virtue which Dame Edith Okowa, wife of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, has continued to display singles her out as a  model and succour provider.

 

Her outstanding passion for the plight of the needy played out glaringly again as 42 orphanages and five adopted families in Asaba joined in the memorable activities to mark the World Orphans Day on Thursday, November 7, 2019.

The event, which came alive in the emerald ambiance of Government House, Asaba, was hosted by ever cheerful Mrs. Okowa, Founder of the 05 Initiative.

 

The Director-General, 05 Initiative, Mrs. Oghenekevwe Agas, set a tone for the day in her welcome address, saying that the World Orphanage Day 2019 was being marked for people to “remember that there are persons in our midst that need our attention.”

She was speaking about orphans, their plight and the need to extend care to them for active and purposeful living.

 

“A child is made to suddenly change and become timid. These set of people are in pain that cannot be described,” she said.

 

These are the less-privileged, those whose circumstance of birth may have regrettably pushed them to become destitute, unfortunate, indigent, deprived, poor, needy and lowly. They are children who through no fault of theirs found themselves in the very discomforting situation of having no parental care. They have lost touch with natural parents who brought them into the world and are now alone, with a bleak future staring at them.

 

Faced with a hopeless situation, orphans go through hardship and often do not receive the right attention of affection necessary for them to properly develop.  They need care that will provide for them the opportunity to have a better life.

Dame Okowa began the occasion by raising awareness about the dilemma of children without parents, and admonished those who may not be biological parents of needy children on the significance of caring for them and extending human kindness.

 

She said: “These children see you as the father they never had, as the mother they never had. The world we are living in today is a world that has become pervasive; men of 70 years sleep with children. Today, the Lord is saying to us that today is not a show, but to remind us about our responsibility to children; that the children we come across may not be our biological children, but we have a responsibility to them. It is not about the position you occupy, but about the heart you carry.”

 

She drew inspiration for her passion to extend compassion to the needy from Matthew 25:35-36 in the Holy Bible where Jesus Christ said: “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you come to Me.”

 

Indeed, the Delta First Lady has lived up to the demands of this inspiration with her 05 Initiative which was established in 2016 and  pronto, began the assignment of touching lives by feeding the hungry, providing shelter for the homeless, clothing the naked, care or the sick and visiting the prisoner.

 

Of course, the United Nations set aside November of every year to raise awareness of the plight of orphans and to re-evaluate the way children around us are treated, especially those not our biological children, who lost parenting under varying circumstances, making them vulnerable to societal storms.

 

As with previous years, Mrs Okowa gave various food items and cash to 42 orphanages and five indigent families she adopted as her responsibility to provide for. The items were arranged neatly, each bearing the name of the orphanage it had been assigned to. The orphanages are located in different parts of the state, and the adopted families include Abojei, with four boys and one girl who lost their parents. They hail from Onicha-Ugbo in Aniocha North Local Government Area; Pastor Martins where both parents died in an accident.

 

The third is the Favour family of two children who lost their parents; the fourth is the quintuplet children. The five babies lost their 29-year-old mother after she gave birth to them through a caesarean session, and it was her first pregnancy. Okowa, in her kind heartedness has continued to provide the needs of the families, ensuring that they do not lack.

 

 

A cleric, who was at the event, Bishop Nuel Ikeakanam, prayed and asked God to “give us men and women and strategies to see that the vulnerable in the society can receive help.”

Rev. Canon Kingsley Dieli, a caregiver at St. Barnabas Anglican Orphanage/Motherless Babies Home, Asaba was full of praise for Dame Okowa, who he addressed as “Mama Delta’’. He said: “Mama Delta, you may not know the extent to which what you are doing has affected lives. We thank you for what you are doing; for going all out to help the needy.”

 

Another observer, Mrs Uju Ntasiobi, said: “Mrs Okowa has opened her heart to receive God’s vision, by which she is challenging our sensibilities and calling attention to these types of people in society.”

She prayed that God would raise godly men and women to join her to fulfil this vision.

 

“The vision will not end after her husband’s tenure as governor in Government House, Asaba. Today, the orphaned child in Delta can smile because you are there. The sickle cell child can smile because you are there. May God bless the day you were born,” she said, adding that she would receive grace to take her mission to greater heights.   

Dame Okowa, who laced her exhortation with choruses of praise to the Almighty God, explained that although 05 Initiative had celebrated World Orphans Day every year since 2016, “the 2019 celebration is particularly outstanding.”

She said: “Every child has a right to protection and is entitled to a complete and fulfilled life. But my heart bleeds each time I see parents especially mothers maltreating their domestic staff. Our aim of gathering here annually is not for show, but to talk to ourselves on ways to add value to the lives of these children.

 

 

“As part of our mission to feed the hungry and provide shelter for the homeless, this year’s celebration will not be different; we have food items for the various orphanages and families.”

Of course, the ceremony was made possible by those partnering with her to give care to orphans, and they were duly acknowledged by her.

 

She said: “Let me appreciate our caregivers, thank you for creating an atmosphere of love for my children, it is indeed a huge task. I urge you not to relent, keep showing kindness. God is not unjust to forget your labour of love, you will reap in due season if you faint not”.

 

A special thank you was also extended to the corporate organisations that supported her financially. She pleaded with parents to plant good seeds for the sake of their children, declaring that just one good seed will yield a bountiful harvest. “Go the extra mile; give that child many reasons to live so we can change our world, one person at a time.”

 

Okowa at a point was taken aback and saddened by the activities of some unscrupulous persons working in some orphanages. She admonished those caregivers involved in selling children to stop the evil activities.

“These children are not your own; I am not referring to all caregivers but I am talking to the few that are involved. If you don’t stop, the police will be invited into the matter,” she warned.

Obviously pleased with the magnanimous activities of Okowa, Mrs. Chukwudum Presca of Shalom Orphanage, Ibusa said: “I am very happy and excited that we have a mother like Her Excellency, Mrs. Edith Okowa in this state. She is a blessing to Delta state and to the orphans. I pray for her that God will bless her and bring people like Aaron and Hai to hold her hand, so that this initiative will not die.”

 

For Miss Chidinma Nwokoye of Happy Home Orphanage, Okwe, the ceremony is a very good event. “Her Excellency is helping the orphanages by sending them food, clothes for their wellbeing.”

 

Rev. Sister Agnes of Mother of Divine Grace Orphanage said: “We are happy and grateful to god for this event. This is the fourth year we benefited. We pray to God to bless Mrs. Edith Okowa. Our message to others is that they should copy what she is doing.”

Rev. Canon Kingsley Dieli of St. Barnabas Anglican Orphanage/Motherless Babies Home, Asaba described the event as godly and part of the heartbeat of God. He said: “Any organisation or individual that is well to do and does not think along this side is wasting God’s resources and opportunity. Because if you are given billions, it is God that gave it to you because there are many whose future is tide around that wealth. You are not meant to keep it but to share.”

 

Dieli revealed that what was done to celebrate the World Orphans Day was what Okowa has been doing in the past years. “She also sends her staff without making noise about it, to bring items to orphanage homes,” he said.   

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