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NIWA MD Laments Incidents of Boat Mishaps

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) Mr Bola Oyebamiji has lamented the recent incidents of boat mishaps describing the development as a serious calamity on the nation’s waterways.

The Managing Director disclosed this while fielding questions after signing Performance Bonds with various departmental heads of the Authority at the end of a two-way Special Retreat/Workshop held in Lokoja, recently.

He said that the retreat themed, “Repositioning the Inland Waterways Authority for Excellence”, was aimed at preparing and building the capacity of of the management and staff to meet the aspirations of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Inland Waterways and the Blue Economy.

Oyebamiji decried the “series of boat mishaps” on the he nation’s waterways saying that in a matter of days the nation has recorded two fatal boat mishaps in Anambra and Rivers States.

He said that with the two incidents in Umumu-Anam, Anambra State and Andoni-Bonny coastal waters in Rivers State on Friday and Tuesday morning respectively claiming almost 20 lives certainly not a good report for the Agency.

The NIWA boss stressed that the management would evolve a number of measures to address the situation and assuage the challenges as part of measures to reposition the Agency.

“In repositioning NIWA, the first thing that agitates my mind is safety. In the last couple of months, we have seen a series of boat mishaps. This is uncalled for. This is criminal.

“I can tell you that there is going to be a committee going forward, to handle safety and registration of boats and it is even going to partner with the local boat builders to make sure that we have boats that are standardized.

He said that only trained boat drivers would be allowed to handle and ply the waterways to limit incidences of boat mishaps adding that there would be Rescue Committee “that is agile, that is vibrant and can be tested anytime.”

Speaking on the Performance Bond, the MD said his expectations from NIWA staff is that since they had keyed-in and signed the bond, they would achieve the best for NIWA.

“They will achieve the best for the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy and at the same time, achieve the best for Nigeria, keying into the vision of the President of the Republic of Nigeria.

“So expect new NIWA, expect a repositioned NIWA going forward”, he said.

On the potentials of the the newly created Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, Oyebamiji said the Ministry would carry out the commercial leg of governance, adding that there were more resources in the Marine and Blue Economy far better and higher than oil.

“I can assure you that the Minister is positioned and we are going to partner with investors, mostly local and foreign investors, to drive the opportunities in the Marine and Blue economy.

“There is a reason Mr President created that Ministry. The Ministry is going to add its value to the Nigerian economy. There is going to be a lot of things. Employment is going to be created. The Ministry is going to add to the GDP of Nigeria.

“The Ministry is going to add value, especially in areas such as fisheries, aquaculture and so many other areas that have been planned in the roadmap of the Ministry.

“I can assure you that in the next couple of months and years, you will see the indicators that the Ministry is firmly rooted to drive the Nigerian economy”, he said.

Highlight of the two-day Special Retreat/workshop was the signing of the Performance Bond by the General Managers with the Managing Director after exhaustive capacity building training in the new Performance Management System (PMS)

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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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