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Benue National Assembly Caucus’ Allegation against Alia is Mischievous, Unfounded – CPS 

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

The Chief Press Secretary to Benue State Governor, Sir Tersoo Kula, on Thursday, said the allegation made by members of the national assembly from Benue State against his principal, Governor Hyacinth Alia is mischievous and targeted at ridiculing him and his administration.

Sir Kula maintained that at no point did the state government take a decision to spend N44 billion to construct an underpass at the High level section of Makurdi, the State capital.

He dismissed the allegation with a wave of hand, saying it is “false and misleading”, adding that whoever concocted such for whatever reason goofed.

The chief press who stated this while  addressing  newsmen in Makurdi  against  the backdrop of a  press conference by  Benue NASS caucus in Abuja, where they accused the governor of playing politics with insecurity in the state and over blowing contract figures, stressed that the contract was originated as far back as November, 2023 at the Ministerial tender board.

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 He explained that on the 3rd November, publication for bidding was done and on 22nd December, 2023 submission on tender commenced, while  bid for contract opened on 23 December,2023 with Bauhaus Global Investment Nigeria Ltd known to deliver quality jobs getting the contract.

“Some people are not just interested in the development of this state. They are very sad at the moment. They hate to see anything good happen here.

“It is very disheartening that the National Assembly caucus would say the dissolution of the Local government councils in the state is the reason for the increased Fulani attacks. Therefore, it appears the group knows what many including the governor are unaware of.

“They are enemies of the state who fabricate stories and sponsor some ready mischievous youth to propagate on the cyberspace with a clear intention to generate hatred for the administration”, Kula stated

He said already, the state government is investigating a letter allegedly sent to the herdsmen to return and occupy some parts of the state, adding that the anti-grazing law is still in force in the state as the governor had emphasized during the burial of the late Tor Sankera, Chief Abu King Shuluwa.

On the revenue of the state, he said the State government generates at least a total sum of N1.2 billion as revenue per month which are being used judiciously.

According to him, Governor Hyacinth Alia’s administration has nothing to hide and so, always said that it is the people’s money and they have the right to know.

“The sum of N1.2billion is generated every month by the Benue State Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) and the amount is outside of PAYEE.”

 “Alia has continued to use the monies for salary payment and for projects to ensure that the people reap the dividends of democracy.

“You know that the immediate past administration took a lot of loans which reduces the amount of monies available to Government as the various banks deduct their monies from source from the federal accrual into the state’s purse.

“So, what the government gets (leftovers after loan deduction) at the end of the month which is little is what it adds up to the monthly generated revenue to do projects you see all over the state,” he said.

“The sum of the contract is 6 billion naira not even close to 10 billion naira not to talk of 44 billion naira. An underpass is meant to construct another road. It was captured properly in the budget.

“The initial bill of 9 billion naira was projected for the Wurukum underpass until the governor approached the President and the Minister for Works.

 The minister David Umahi approved and awarded it for 20 billion naira. The underpass is to decongest and beautify the State capital. Discussions are still ongoing with those whose structures or land have been affected by the construction work. Valuation is ongoing.”

“Benue people are grateful to the President and Minister for Works Dave Umahi for the approval for construction of a flyover and many other projects ahead”, Kula said.

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FCCPC Summons Owner of Chinese Supermarket for Alleged Discrimination of Citizens

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has summoned the owner of a Chinese supermarket located in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for alleged restriction of Nigerians.

The supermarket located at Royal Choice Estate, Lugbe, allegedly permits only Chinese citizens access to purchase groceries.

The supermarket was under lock and key when officials of the FCCPC visited in reaction to a viral video where citizens frowned at the supermarket’s policy.

Ms Boladale Adeyinka, the Director, Surveillance and Investigations of FCCPC, who led the team, said the essence of the investigation was to verify the allegations and the contents of that viral video.

”On arrival, we noticed that the supermarket which is right behind me, was sealed and padlocked externally.

”Inquiries have shown that yes, as at this morning this supermarket was opened and people were here.

”CCTV footage also shows that at about 8:29 a.m., two vehicles departed from these premises allegedly containing the owner of the supermarket, whom we have been able to identify by name and we have her contact details.

”Now the summon is to serve notice on her to appear before the FCCPC by April 24 at 11 a. m.

”There are other regulatory tools to be deployed if she fails to honour this summons, ” she said.

Adeyinka said that if the owner of the supermarket failed to hour the summon, the commission under its powers, would seal the premises until she complied.

Mr Sanusi Shuiabu, the Estate Assistant Facilities Manager, said the supermarket was primarily established to cater for the groceries needs of Chinese residents and other tenants of the estate.

He said that there were no agreement restricting the supermarket to Chinese residents only.

Shuiabu said the owner of the supermarket who he simply identified as Cindy was a tenant in the estate.

Reports says that the supermarket was under lock and key when the FCCPC official visited. (NAN)

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Niger Delta Leaders say NDDC MD has Capacity to Perform

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Some leaders in the Niger Delta say they have confidence in the capability of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku to perform.

Mr Freedom Atigbi, the Convener of the Niger Delta Opinion Leaders, Youths and Weighted Stakeholders said this at a news conference in Port Harcourt on Monday.

He said that Ogbuku had demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, charisma, and ability to drive both human and infrastructure development in the Niger Delta during his few months in office.

“Since Ogbuku’s appointment as managing director, the NDDC has successfully completed the 25.7-kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road and bridges project.

“In addition, initiatives such as the postgraduate oversees scholarship programme and ‘Operation Light up the Niger Delta’  has significantly reduced crime and enhanced commercial activities in the region.

“Under Ogbuku’s leadership, NDDC has inaugurated the Project Hope programme aimed at creating a database to facilitate the planning and implementation of training and provision for skilled labour,” he said.

Atigbi, who also serves as the Deputy President of the Ijaw Council Worldwide, said that the managing director had established the Niger Delta Chamber of Commerce to support local entrepreneurs in growing their businesses.

“These achievements within few months in office underscores our belief that Ogbuku’s leadership has transformed NDDC from a transactional to a transformative government agency.

“Ogbuku has shown his ability to engage all stakeholders to achieve the goal of carrying everyone along in the commission’s policies and programmes.

“We hereby pass a vote of confidence and offer our support to Ogbuku, a balancer and unifier whose policies and programmes are tackling poverty and misery in the region,” he added.

The youth leader praised President Bola Tinubu for entrusting Ogbuku with the task of advancing his Renewed Hope Agenda in the Niger Delta. (NAN)

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Alleged Defilement: Businessman Docked for Failing to Produce Suspect

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Court Sentences Applicant to 6 Months in Prison for Stealing Cell Phone
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A businessman, Robert Makolo on Monday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court, for failing to produce a suspect he stood surety for in a case of defilement.

Makolo had promised to produce the suspect, John, who is his brother in court by the adjourned date.

The Magistrate Mr Lateef Owolabi, adjourned the case until May 30 for mention and to enable the defendant produce the suspect.

Reports says that Makolo had earlier been arraigned on Jan.

22 and stood trial on a two- count charge of conspiracy and perversion of justice.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Owolabi, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum who must produce evidence of 3 years tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

He said that one of the sureties must be a blood relative.

The prosecutor, SP Josephine Ikhayere had told the court that Makolo stood in as surety on  Nov 16, 2023 at the Anthony Police Station.

Ikhayere alleged that Makolo stood as a surety for his brother Paul, who was involved in a case of defilement.

She said the defendant promised to produce his brother the suspect anytime his presence was required at the police station until the case is finally disposed of.

She said that the defendant undertook to produce the suspect on Nov. 30, 2023 but failed.

The prosecutor said that the section contravene the provisions of Section 97 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos.(NAN)

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