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Benue Needs a Naval Base, Says Gov. Alia

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Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, has called for the establishment of a naval base in the state to boost security. He said the establishment of a naval base would foster closer collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and other security agencies operating in Benue.Alia requested for “a Nigerian Navy Type A Operation Base in Makurdi ‘ during his visit to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, in Abuja.

The governor lamented the security challenges confronting the state, saying that many communities are under siege, people are living in fear and threatened by criminal elements, particularly armed herders and bandits.
He said these criminals exploited the absence of security along Benue waterways to infiltrate and perpetrate heinous crimes against defenseless innocent residents.
Alia said:”The situation demands urgent action, and it is in this spirit of urgency that I am here to appeal to the Nigerian Navy to consider establishing a Type “A” Operational Base in Makurdi, Benue State, along the River Benue. “Such a strategic move is not just a necessity, but a moral imperative to safeguard the lives and properties of our citizens and to restore peace and security to our communities.”Alia said in a statement by his Principal Special Assistant on Print Media, Donald Kumun, that River Benue is one of the two major inland waterways in Nigeria running from the Nigerian-Cameroon Border to its confluence with River Niger at Lokoja. He said the river, though an inland waterway, is critical to Nigeria’s drive towards maximizing her Blue Economy potentials and enhancing national development. Alia said an enhanced security along River Benue and the adjoining coastal communities and waterways is critical to achieving the developmental aspiration. The governor lamented that the security situation along the river and its adjoining communities has largely remained volatile due to the absence of operational Naval presence along the River. He said: “Bandits have been exploiting the absence of security along the waterways to infiltrate and kill defenseless innocent civilians in Benue State without any resistance. “For instance, In April last year, no fewer than 400 innocent civilians were reportedly killed by bandits across Benue State in the space of three weeks.“Most of these attacks occurred because the bandits exploited the absence of naval presence along the waterways to attack adjoining coastal communities in Logo, Guma, Katsina-Ala and Agatu LGAs of Benue State.”Alia added: “Benue State, with its extensive network of waterways, has become a fertile ground for criminal activities. These criminals, emboldened by the lack of security presence along our rivers, roam freely, spreading terror and leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. It is time for us to take a stand and say enough is enough.“By establishing a Naval base in Makurdi, the Nigerian Navy would not only assert its commitment to protecting the lives of Nigerians, but also send a clear message to these criminal elements that their reign of terror will no longer be tolerated. “The presence of a Naval base would serve as a formidable deterrent, disrupting the activities of criminals and restoring a sense of security to our communities.”Alia said the establishment of a Naval base in Makurdi would not only bolster the security architecture of Benue State, but also enhance the Navy’s capacity for swift response to security breaches. He said with a dedicated operational base in the heart of the state, the Nigerian Navy would be better positioned to deploy resources, conduct patrols and apprehend perpetrators, thereby ensuring that justice is served and our communities are protected.He said: “We can leverage our collective expertise and resources to effectively combat criminal networks, dismantle their operations and bring them to justice.“Makurdi, the Benue State Capital is currently home to the Nigerian Navy Provost and Regulating School (NNPRS), with a Sickbay and Barracks established to support the School. “However, the NNPRS is not an Operations Base but a training institution. Hence, it is not equipped with the requisite manpower, gunboats, operational vehicles and most importantly the mandate to conduct operations to support the Benue State Government in addressing the security challenges in the State. It is therefore necessary for the Benue State Government to liaise with Naval Headquarters for the establishment of a Type ‘A’ Operations Base in Makurdi.“As a demonstration of our total commitment to the partnership between the Benue State Government and the Nigerian Navy, we have processed papers for the allocation of land and are already making compensations for the permanent site of the Nigerian Navy Provost and Regulating School (NNPRS) in Makurdi.”Responding, the Chief of Naval Staff appreciated the Governor for the visit and thanked him for providing land for them for smooth operation in the state, and assured him of his visit and support to tackle the insecurity challenges in the state.

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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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