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Anambra: Motorcycle restriction, not ban

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Ifeanyi Afuba
Sometime in 1985, I read a short story by the novelist and critic Obii Nwachukwu – Agbada titled Grandfather’s Motorcycle. After much longing, an old man finally bought and was savouring the thrill of owning a bike. Before a company of friends and passers-by, he showed off the beauty of the product. He wheeled the motorcycle around in circles and alighted brimming with satisfaction at the soft drum tones tapped out by its engine. A man touched a gadget here and another felt a component there.
A man in the small crowd smiled at Grandfather. “Let me try it.’ Obliged, the admirer mounted the motorcycle and rode off. He never came back! And riding on Nwachukwu – Agbada’s truth of fiction, we are brought back to the present, where thirty-three years after, the motorcycle is still a major factor in the economy of crime engagement.
In the past four years, the security situation in Anambra State has been very good; witnessing a marked reduction in crime rate and better performance on the part of security agencies in crime fighting. The improved capability of the State’s security machinery has been attributed to the empowerment received from the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano. Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris is quoted in The Nation of Monday, June 5, 2017 as saying: ‘The support by Governor Willie Obiano is unprecedented; it will enhance our operational capacity and aid our resolve to fight crime and criminality in all nooks and crannies of the State.’

This testimony is corroborated by the statement of another important voice. In an advertorial in Saturday Sun of August 8, 2015, Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Joseph Ahaneku said: ‘The Nnamdi Azikiwe University deeply appreciates the efforts of His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano in ridding the State of crime for which the University has benefitted immensely.’
However, the task of containing crime is never completely removed. The socio – economic and personality factors that influence deviant social behaviour can only be mediated, not eradicated. Thus, in the face of new challenges, crime fighting efforts are to be continually reviewed for increased results.
The Anambra State Government had for long been faced with the dilemma of strict security imperatives and the social sentiments of governance. Security reports have consistently identified the easy get-away facility the motorcycle offers to criminals as a hurdle in crime fighting. The motorized bike not only meanders through narrow and difficult terrain that a four wheel vehicle would not manage, the detection of any specific description in the flow of traffic is a particularly tasking job.
It could easily be stripped of some parts and refitted in a new configuration that leads astray investigating eyes. Given its comparative cheap cost, a serious minded gang can afford to ditch the instruments after an operation. As we saw in Nwachukwu-Agbada’s familiar setting, all it takes for a fleeing criminal to melt into the society is a serviceable machine, sheer guts and some luck.
It is remarkable that in the face of these disturbing facts, the Anambra State Government had refrained from regulation of motorcycle transportation in the state even when every other state in the South-east had introduced one sort of prohibition or the other.

Much thought was given to the attendant economic implication for the citizens engaged in commercial motorcycle use. In consideration of the hardship expected to follow a ban on its use, the humane Willie Obiano administration chose to manage the continued operation of the system for some time more. This accommodation, this toleration certainly could not go on indefinitely. The price for the total retention of motorcycle transportation was too high to pay – at the risk of the security and well-being of the citizens as well as the state’s economic growth.

Consequently, the Anambra State Government in the second week of May 2018 reviewed the existing policy and issued notice of restriction on motorcycle operations in the state to come into effect in July 2018. The limitation on motorcycle riding will affect only Awka and Onitsha and their satellite communities – at least for now.
Clearly, there is no ban. Operators in the capital and commercial cities are free to relocate to other towns and continue their venture. The restriction promises to facilitate greater crime prevention, detection and control in the affected cities. And with these beachheads serving as a bulwark, managing the security challenges in other parts of the state where motorcycles are allowed to run, should be easier.
Aside security, there are also other serious problems associated with unregulated use of motorcycle in our societies. There is the road safety issue arising from their ubiquitous presence. The spectre of knocked down pedestrians is ever present. The motorcycle riders themselves have no protective shield in the event of collision with another bike or car.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had cited the rising trend of orthopedic patients as reason for banning commercial motorcycles when he was Governor of Lagos State. The restriction plan further promises to free Awka and Onitsha from the congestion and pollution motorcycles have unleashed on the towns.
Afuba writes from Awka

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Editorial

Recurrent issues in APGA leadership conundrum

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 •Likely implications of apex court ruling on Southeast, 2019
When the Supreme Court sits on July 13, 2018 to deliver judgment on the cyclical leadership squabble in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), it would be the 4th time such appeal would receive the apex court verdict.

The tortuous legal journey that led to the uprooting of the founding national chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie coursed through the apex court in several appeals, including interlocutory prayers. In the course of the eight years of legal tangle between Okorie and former treasurer of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, despite the fact that no court of law ever pronounced Umeh as the valid national chairman, he carried on in that office going in and out of various courts clutching technical rulings.

That was the state of APGA such that by October 2012 when Okorie discontinued further interest in the litigations, the party had no less than 23 cases pending at various courts in the country.
Against that background, come July 13, the apex court’s decision would therefore seek to dispel or sustain some ingrained issues surrounding the leadership instability of the sixteen year-old political party. Some of the questions that the Supreme Court’s ruling would possibly answer include: To what extent did judicial corruption aid the unending leadership crises in APGA? Are reports or inputs from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) given due probative value in these crises?
Will justice be served or denied by the judicial pronouncement and to what extent would either tendency affect the structural health of the party, going forward to 2019 election?

On the way to 2019
APGA has gained relevance in Nigeria politics as a fringe party adept at playing second fiddle to ruling political parties, a development helped by its leadership volatility. Last year, in the euphoria of Governor Willie Obiano’s electoral victory and in apparent attempt to court the support of the ruling party, embattled factional chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, declared that the party’s national executive committee would meet to take an official stand on the issue of support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.

Although Oye was severely rebuked for that emotive outburst, his action was in line with APGA’s tradition of siding with any party in power during elections in search for its own relevance and stability. That ignoble tradition came into great show in the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when Okorie was being edged out of the party, for drafting the late Ikemba Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu into the Presidential race in 2003.

As Okorie observed during the several litigations that trailed his removal, based on the stiff challenge APGA presented in the election, Obasanjo decided to use a dubious weak link in APGA to ensure that southeast does not have a strong platform to engineer a bloc vote.

So, by announcing albeit prematurely, the possibility of endorsing Buhari’s second term, Oye was merely lifting survival tactics from Victor Umeh’s book of tricks in the mistaken notion that as it was in Obasanjo’s era, judicial officers would interpret the body language of the Presidency to phrase their ruling.

However, there are strong indications that APGA might suffer terrible defeat in the southeast if it toes the easy path of endorsing the Presidential candidate of a rival party, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC), in 2019. The outcome of the 2017 Anambra State governorship poll was a combination of two major factors including, disdain for APC and the manner in which PDP chose its flag bearer.

By the time the Anambra gubernatorial election held, a greater percentage of voters in Southeast seemed to have become weary and wary of the politics of self-survival and internecine leadership squabbles in the party. APGA was also losing its earlier mass appeal due to the insistence of some narrow-minded politicians to domesticate its leadership in Anambra in contravention of the founding ideas of the party as platform for Igbo ideological expression.

It was therefore in a bid to extinguish such narrow mindedness that seems to have greatly obfuscated the party that members of the APGA national working committee led by late Nwabueze Okafor, who hailed from Enugu State, decided to sack Oye. Oye was also accused of personalising the office of national chairman of APGA and running the party as if it were his personal estate, which culminated in some financial misconduct.

The fact that that singular change of leadership in APGA received widespread commendation, showed the depth of public revulsion at the lack of internal democracy in the party, as well as, attempt at entrenching Anambra hegemony on its leadership. Consequently, the sack of Oye and subsequent takeover of the party chairmanship by Okafor, who was the former national President of Association of Local Government Chairman of Nigeria (ALGON), brought a new lease of life to APGA.

Unfortunately, Okafor’s leadership did not endure to carry out the institutional reforms the NWC envisaged before death snatched him away. However, in his place, the 2007 Imo State governorship candidate of the party, Ochudo Martin Agbaso, was selected in the spirit of diversification and deregulation of APGA chairmanship.

Nonetheless, with eyes on another general election in 2019, some Anambra politicians that see APGA as a trading company and their money making machine, decided to fight the ensuing reforms, thereby waking up another cycle of litigations with the attendant financial transactions.

One notorious political jobber from Anambra State, in a state of obscene revelry gloated that substantial part of billions budgeted for programming judicial and INEC officials helped him set up his sprawling business enterprises in Awka.

The politician narrated how some judges were compromised to parry justice in most of the court cases involving contending parties in the APGA leadership crises. He disclosed how some judges had to travel to nearby Benin republic, faraway London and Dubai to collect their price for vending judgment in the APGA imbroglio.

The question that comes up is whether if those practices took place in the past, such interference could happen in the present dispensation.

July 13 judgment
The Supreme Court fixed July 13, to rule on the appeal filed by the Agbaso group challenging the decision of a lower court to grant the prayers of Oye, who was not a party to the originating matter regarding the order of mandamus on the Police and INEC to deal with Agbaso-led NWC as the authentic leadership of APGA.

It should be noted that prior to the Enugu High Court ruling, Oye was still in court trying to quash his removal from office by other members of the NWC at a meeting that was properly convened by him as chairman in line with the provisions of the APGA constitution.

In a bid to avert confusion and arrest INEC’s indecision over the leadership position, APGA deputy chairman in Enugu, Mr. Mike Alioke, approached the State High Court with a motion praying for an order on INEC to abide with a resolution of the stakeholders of the party appointing Agbaso as the acting national chairman to fill the void thrust on the party by Okafor’s sudden demise.

Alioke’s case seem to mirror similar motion by Jude Okude, before the then Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, seeking the court’s interpretation whether by virtue of expiry of his tenure, Umeh could convene a national executive committee meeting of the party. Going by a rotation arrangement in the party, Enugu State was on line to succeed Umeh as national chairman.

In the instant case, no sooner than the court granted the order than Oye went to the Court of Appeal, Enugu division, which reversed the order of mandamus on INEC and the Police to deal with the Agbaso-led NWC of APGA.

Surprised that the Court of Appeal should grant Oye’s petition, not minding that he was not a party to the case, but was joined as an interested party, Agbaso went to the Supreme Court challenging the Appeal Court ruling on the grounds that Oye failed to obtain the leave of the court before approaching the appellate court as required in law.

In his brief of argument through his counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), Agbaso contended that Oye ought not to benefit from the judgment of the court without seeking and obtaining the leave of the court to proceed on appeal.

Agbaso’s counsel averred that Oye suffered legal deficiencies by not aligning with the provisions of the constitution, which stipulate that not being a party during trial at the lower court, “coming to appeal as an interested party requires him to seek and obtain first the leave of the court before appealing.”

Citing the case of Ani vs Oni, Erokoro (SAN) further submitted that the Court of Appeal in its ruling failed to consider the crucial provision of the law that leave must be obtained first before an interested party goes on appeal.

Nonetheless, either on the basis of his counsel’s dismissal of Agbaso’s counsel’s submissions as mere academic endeavour, Oye and his supporters rolled out the drums in celebration, saying that Governor Obiano has assured that victory would come their way for strategic reasons.

How apex court ruling might shape APGA, Southeast and 2019
Being the court of final instance, it is possible that the July 13 Supreme Court judgment would put paid to the endemic leadership squabbles and serial litigations in APGA. But, the outcome could influence the party, southeast politics and the run up to the much talked about 2019 election in diverse ways.

For APGA, if the judgment serves the cause of justice, it would mark a new beginning for the party. The new beginning could be seen in the possible reunification of Igbo political elites under one umbrella in preparation for the 2019 poll as a harbinger for the build up to 2023.

Such collaboration could set the stage for serious interrogation of political options and expression of group interests, particularly on issues like restructuring, economic integration and self-determination or even secession.

On the other hand, a superficial judgment could deepen the monolithic leadership structure of the party and further alienate other Igbo states from APGA. Such tendency might enhance the position of Governor Obiano as an emergent emperor, thereby positioning him and the party effectively to continue the tradition of pandering to whims of ruling platforms.

In the event such an untoward development, southeast could aggregate in PDP for national political cum electoral relevance. Thus, APGA would remain as a visceral party for Anambra politicians.

However in the final analysis the July 13 apex court ruling, could become a talking point for Nigerians to discuss the place of the judiciary in internal democracy in political parties, as well as, the other deleterious imputation that although the law rules, it sways to the power of fiscal and social influence.

 

Guardian

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Editorial

Religious harmony: Onaiyekan chides clerics misleading their followers

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has called on both Christian and Muslim clerics to stop misleading their followers in their sermons.
Cardinal Onaiyekan made the call on Monday in Ilorin in his keynote address at the First International Conference of Inter-Religious Council organised by the University of Ilorin.
The theme of the Conference is: “A peaceful co-existence among adherents of different religions: a panacea for National integration and Development”.

He advocated for the total training of both Muslim and Christian clerics on knowledge of scriptures to improve religious harmony in Nigeria.
The Cardinal said there were too many  ignorant Christian and Muslim clerics misleading their adherents.
He noted that religious harmony was possible in Nigeria, but required that clerics from the two major religions should to go back to the scripture and be retrained.
According to him, religious leaders must change their mode of addressing their adherents to conform with the correct teachings of their religions and promote total peace and harmony.
“Religious harmony is not just peaceful co-existence, which is often not peaceful at all especially when there are perceptions of injustice in some quarters.
“Peace is more than the absence of war,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said.
Onaiyekan said it was only peace that could bring about national integration, in which every section would find itself at home and valued.
“There is need for a radical theological updating of our ideas of God and our faith, in such a way that we can accommodate others, just as God Himself has accommodated all of us,” he said.
He called on the diverse religious adherents to celebrate the common grounds we have in our faiths, despite the non-negligible doctrinal differences.
Speaking at the occasion, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, Secretary General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs said the conference was appropriate and timely.
Oloyede, who was represented by Dr Yusuf Adebayo, Lecturer at the Depart of Religions of the University of Ilorin advised against forcing religion on people adding that the Holy Qur’an has already enjoined Muslims that: “Let there be no compulsion in religion; truth stands out clear from error.”
Oloyede warned against the condemnation and provocation of people of other faith which often can lead to unhealthy relationship among people .
Earlier in his welcome address, Prof Sulyman Abdulkareem, Vice Chancellor of the University described religious bigotry as one of the major problems confronting Nigeria.
He said there was so much intolerance against one another which was the major cause of religious crises across the nation.
Abdulkareem said that God created religion as an instrument for unity and peaceful co-existence among people. (NAN)

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Editorial

Anambra State And Illegal Structures

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Quite often development is not appreciated by all, especially where it appears not to affect everybody the same way. Appreciation varies as there are interests, and often provokes a whole gamut of human emotion. But ultimately it commends itself to the greater good.
It is well to remember this fact – no development, however disruptive it may seem, is not adapted to the general good. It may appear severe at the outset, but in the end its salutary effect is assured. Few examples where development was spurned as punitive, resisted with vehemence but eventually accepted with thankfulness may suffice. What is known today as Lekki phase one and two in the Lagos Island area of Lagos State – where the rich now retire in a pleasant feeling of tiredness – was a reclaimed slum – a skid row. It was formerly Maroko, the rundown part of the state and a byword for bedlam and decay. But today the story has changed for good. Those who carried out the demolition as well as the resisters of the exercise can now look back with a feeling of smugness over a good effort. It took decisive effort from the government at the time to accomplish the task without which the state’s dream of a mega city would have come in vain and a good idea lost forever. Maroko was almost a detritus of environmental waste frequented by all manner of people, including those not bred to any manner of trade. Its reclamation was therefore very important to the state and she spared no effort to see it through.

There was also Oshodi, another sprawling habitation in the state. Whether as a market or a habitation, Oshodi did not conjure a good image. Before it was reclaimed from its decided slant towards irredeemable slum the place evoked an eerie feeling in commuters and passers-by. Very few positive stories were told of it. Like Maroko its demolition was frowned at and resisted with vehemence. But today Oshodi is a tourist attraction. Visitors to the state are completely lost on its aesthetic transformation. Hardly does it bear any imprint of the old status. It can be argued that the decision to transform both places (Maroko and Oshodi) was not easy. It was seen as unpopular and resisted accordingly. But because the government was unwavering the idea was pursued with uncommon determination until the objective was achieved.
What happens in Anambra – the removal of illegal structures from the streets – is in no way different. The only difference perhaps is in scope. Whereas Lagos dealt with more expansive areas of habitation and market, Anambra is just slicing off stalls and compartments, obstructing existing structural plan of major streets in the state. She is yet to demolish squalid habitations littered in the cities of Onitsha, Awka and even Nnewi. But even as moderate as the exercise the task has not been easy. It has been met with subtle resistance. As was wont, the presumed victims do not take the exercise kindly. It is seen as punitive but that perhaps is a poor reading of the acts of government, particularly its development plan. But the exercise has doubtless come due, especially with the disruption going on everywhere in the state. Sadly, an allegation of insensitivity is being slapped on the government over the exercise. But that is not tenable for the simple reason that the same government has consistently protected the underclass. Previous efforts bear this out.
At the height of economic recession in the country the government had intervened to cushion the effect of taxation on residents in the state. It also employed workers when states were sacking theirs and pays salaries accordingly. It has offered employment opportunities to many, including people with disabilities and has encouraged them to aspire to positions hitherto denied them. More importantly, it has provided dosshouse for waifs and tramps and built sanatorium for the terminally ill.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for the removal of illegal structures in the state to hang a tag of insensitivity on the government. The latter is not expected to sit on its hands and watch the state continue in the awkward direction. Rather than condemnation, the government should be encouraged in its onerous task of dealing with the disorderliness that has long pervaded the state. Similar effort by the same government had helped to shore up the positive image of the state. The sanity at Upper Iweka/Bridgehead was not achieved in a snap. It came at a cost. Like Oshodi, it was once a confused bedlam. But it took concerted effort by the government to make it a worthy gateway to the state.
It may be hard for those who bear the brunt of the exercise to appreciate the intentions of the government – its effort to bequeath the state a progressive, healthy and environmental-friendly state. But the responsibility ought to be a collective one and should elicit sacrifice accordingly. Unarguably, the exercise was conceived with the people in mind and caused from the outset of the Willie Obiano administration to follow a decided pattern. Against the rash of comments bandied in quarters, it was conceived for the general good of the state.
Recall that early in the life of the administration, a development board, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) was set up to cater for the structural needs of the capital city. It was charged among other responsibilities to draw up a capital city that would favourably compete with Dubai, the economic capital of the United Arab Emirate. Without question, it was an enormous task that involved a lot of adjustment on existing structures and application of restraints on emerging new ones.
It is interesting to note that some of the affected structures – those opposed to the board’s run of duty would have been spared the bulldozers had wisdom prevailed. At least there was ample time to have them relocated to select areas. But that did not happen for obvious reasons. There were those who assumed the board will suffer a sting in the tail. There were also others who would never anticipate a storm when the sea is calm. Notwithstanding, it is believed that the desire to make Anambra the number state in Nigeria has a greater attraction for the people and will encourage them to sacrifice for the state.

Ejike Anyaduba, Abatete

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Editorial

PRESS RELEASE : SENATOR ENYINNANYA ABARIBE ARREST BY DSS.

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WORLD IGBO CONGRESS
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
P. O. Box 132394 Dallas, Texas 75313-2394
Tel: 214 823 7666, 469-867-7774; Email: rnwachukwu@worldigbocongress.com______________________________________________
June 22, 2018
PRESS RELEASE
SENATOR ENYINNANYA ABARIBE ARREST BY DSS.
The World Igbo Congress has learnt with shock, sadness and dismay, the outrageous arrest and detention of Sen. Enyinnanya Abaribe who represents Abia South Senatorial District, by the Nigerian Department of State Service (DSS) on Friday, June 22, 2018. The World Igbo Congress has also learnt that his house had been searched and ransacked with impunity for acting within his rights and duties as a duly elected lawmaker by his constituency.

The World Igbo Congress demands Senator Abaribe’s immediate release without any pre-condition. The World Igbo Congress views this arrest as the same callous and intimidating attack of prominent Igbo by the Muhammadu Buhari administration as Nigeria heads into 2019 general election.

Distinguished Sen. Abaribe’s harassment, by ordered/induced DSS, is considered an insult and an attack to the Igbo nation and would not be taken lightly.

Thus, the World Igbo Congress urges President Buhari and his DSS to release him immediately in the interest of Nigeria and its democracy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Richard O. Nwachukwu
Secretary-General

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Brochure! Brochure!! Brochure!!! The Igbo World Festival of the Arts, Language and Culture

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Brochure! Brochure!! Brochure!!!

NdiIgbo Worldwide are Converging in Virginia. This Year, an estimated 2,000 NdiIgbo and Friends of NdiIgbo will be there. This Year’s Brochure is going Worldwide and when People take one home this “Brochure”, will your Picture/message be there? Don’t miss Out. This is one of those rare moments in History of Igbo Cultural Celebration.

Deadline for subscription: MIDNIGHT, JULY 10, 2018!!!!
We are running the risk of being behind on the brochure publication! Those interested in leaving their imprints on this once in a “blue moon” brochure can please make haste to send us their information – $, message, & Ads to garner their imprint on the landscape.

Check out the matrix below and gauge your status. Please let’s know if yours is missing!
LOGISTICS: Premium Pages:
Back Cover: Beginning Bid – $750
Inside Back Cover: Beginning Bid – $7500
Inside Front Cover:Beginning Bid – $300
Inside Page: $100

Payment Information:
ONLINE PAYMENT: http://www.cisandiigbo.com/admission-tickets/
OR:
By Cheque: Payable to CISA
c/o Emeka Nwosu
P O Box 4222
Suffolk, Va 23439

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As Anambra deals with illegal structure

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Ejike Anyaduba
Quite often development is not appreciated by all, especially where it appears not to affect everybody the same way. Appreciation varies as there are interests, and often provokes a whole gamut of human emotion. But ultimately it commends itself to the greater good.
It is well to remember this fact – no development, however disruptive it may seem, is not adapted to the general good. It may appear severe at the outset, but in the end its salutary effect is assured. Few examples where development was spurned as punitive, resisted with vehemence but eventually accepted with thankfulness may suffice. What is known today as Lekki phase 1 and 2 in the Lagos Island area of Lagos state – where the rich now retire in a pleasnt feeling of tiredness – was a reclaimed slum – a skid row. It was formerly Maroko, the rundown part of the state and a byword for bedlam and decay.But today the story has changed for good. Those who carried out the demolition as well as the resisters of the exercise can now look back with a feeling of smugness over a good effort. It took decisive effort from the government at the time to accomplish the task without which the state’s dream of a mega city would have come in vain and a good idea lost forever. Maroko was almost a detritus of environmental waste frequented by all manner of people, including those not bred to any manner of trade. Its reclamation was therefore very important to the state and she spared no effort to see it through.
There was also Oshodi another sprawling habitation in the state. Whether as a market or a habitation Oshodi did not cop a good image. Before it was reclaimed from its decided slant towards irredeemable slum the place evoked an eerie feeling in commuters and passers-by. Very few positive stories were told of it. Like Maroko its demolition was frowned at and resisted with vehemence. But today Oshodi is a tourist attraction. Visitors to the state are completely lost on its aesthetic transformation. Hardly does it bear any imprint of the old status. It can be argued that the decision to transform both places (Maroko and Oshodi) was not easy. It was seen as unpopular and resisted accordingly. But because the government was unwavering the idea was pursued with uncommon determination until the objective was achieved.
What happens in Anambra – the removal of illegal structures from the streets – is in no way different. The only difference perhaps is in scope. Whereas Lagos dealt with more expansive areas of habitation and market, Anambra is just slicing off stalls and compartments, obstructing existing structural plan of major streets in the state. She is yet to demolish squalid habitations littered in the cities of Onitsha, Awka and even Nnewi. But even as moderate as the exercise the task has not been easy. It has been met with subtle resistance. As was wont, the presumed victims do not take the exercise kindly. It is seen as punitive but that perhaps is a poor reading of the acts of government, particularly its development plan. But the exercise has doubtless come due, especially with the disruption going on everywhere in the state. Sadly, an allegation of insensitivity is being slapped on the government over the exercise. But that is not tenable for the simple reason that the same government has consistently protected the underclass. Previous efforts bear this out.
At the height of economic recession in the country the government had interevened to cushion the effect of taxation on residents in the state. It also employed workers when states were sacking theirs and pays salaries accordingly. It has offered employment opportunities to many, including people with disabilities and has encouraged them to aspire to postions hitherto denied them. More importantly, it has provided dosshouse for waifs and tramps and built sanatorium for the terminally ill.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for the removal of illegal structures in the state to hang a tag of insensitivity on the government. The latter is not expected to sit on its hands and watch the state continue in the awkward direction. Rather than condemnation, the government should be encouraged in its onerous task of dealing with the disorderliness that has long pervaded the state. Similar effort by the same government had helped to shore up the positive image of the state. The sanity at Upper Iweka/Bridgehead was not achieved in a snap. It came at a cost. Like Oshodi, it was once a confused bedlam. But it took concerted effort by the government to make it a worthy gateway to the state.
It may be hard for those who bear the brunt of the exercise to appreciate the intentions of the government – its effort to bequeath the state a progressive, healthy and enviromental-friendly state. But the responsibility ought to be a collective one and should elicit sacrifice accordingly. Unarguably, the exercise was conceived with the people in mind and caused from the outset of the Willie Obiano administration to follow a decided pattern. Against the rash of comments bandied in quarters, it was conceived for the general good of the state.
Recall that early in the life of the administration, a development board, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) was set up to cater for the structural needs of the capital city. It was charged among other responsibilities to draw up a capital city that would favorably compete with Dubai, the economic capital of the United Arab Emirate. Without question, it was an enormous task that involved a lot of adjustment on existing structures and application of restraints on emerging new ones.
It is interesting to note that some of the affected structures – those opposed to the Board’s run of duty would have have been spared the bulldozers had wisdom prevailed. At least there was ample time to have them relocated to select areas. But that did not happen for obvious reasons. There were those who assumed the Board will suffer a sting in the tail. There were also others who would never anticipate a storm when the sea is calm. Notwithsatnding, it is believed that the desire to make Anambra the number state in Nigeria has a greater attraction for the people and will encourage them to sacrifice for the state.

Ejike Anyaduba
Wrote from Abatete via dumdile@yahoo.com

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Agriculture Traders Seek Creation Of Agriculture Produce Market

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Traders in Nigeria are seeking the support of the federal government in creating a structured marketing arm for agricultural produce in the six geo-political zones of the country.

The concerned agriculture traders during a meeting with Nigeria’s minister of state for trade Aisha Abubakar said the nation can benefit more if the needed specialized markets and infrastructure is provided.
The traders and officials of the ministry of industry trade and investment agreed to work together in actualizing the dream of setting up the markets, which will help in marketing agricultural produce.

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Curb social maladies amongst youths, Obiano charges monarchs

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By Kingsley Ezekwelu

The Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has called on the traditional rulers to rise to the challenge of curbing social vice of cultism ravaging our communities through reorientation and enlightenment programmes to remold the youth towards pursuing positive and meaningful goals.
The governor made the call during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 annual seminar of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council, held at their secretariat, Government House, Awka.
The seminar which was the 7th in the series, has as its theme, “Governor Obiano’s landslide electoral victory and the making of a united and greater Igbo nation”.
It was well attended by traditional rulers in the state and guests including the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; the Amanyanabo of Opobo, Dandison-Douglas Jaja among others. It featured paper presentations and interactive sessions.
While declaring the seminar open, Gov Obiano thanked the traditional rulers for the roles they played in making his 21/21 victory possible and sustaining peace in the State, as well as the tolerance and maturity they exhibited towards handling the Fulani herdsmen – farmers issue that had prevented a major crisis.
He disclosed that as the host for the recent Ohaneze Summit on Restructuring, what he has done was to forward the Ekwueme Square Declaration to his counterparts in other states and summon a meeting where the communique would be ratified and taken ownership of by the SouthEast governors.
He noted that his government is committed to developing the state but it cannot do it alone, calling on the traditional rulers to continue to support his administration’s vision for the transformation of the state.
The Chairman of the Council and traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe observed that Gov Obiano has made Anambra a model state in Nigeria across many areas including security, Agriculture, community development and politics, noting that destiny has designed it that he will lead the state and Ndigbo towards the desired destination.
According to him, the event was an opportunity to discuss on the journey which Ndigbo has started towards self-discovery and strategic positioning in the politics of Nigeria, using the Obiano electoral victory.
The President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo acknowledged that there has been sustained growth trajectory in Anambra State due to sustained visionary leaderships, thanking Gov Obiano for his immense contributions towards the Igbo cause.
In a keynote remark, the Chairman of the Planning Committee for the event and traditional ruler of Okpuno, Igwe Sunday Okafor expressed hope that the year’s seminar will yield answers to the socioeconomic challenges of Ndigbo and thanked Gov Obiano for keeping faith with the traditional rulers.
In a goodwill message, the Amanyanabo of Opobo, Dandison Douglas Jaja said the cordial relationship between the Governor and the traditional rulers as well as his community development initiatives are very laudable and should be emulated by other governors in the country.
He said with the way Anambra is going, it is sure to become a reference point in terms of development in the near future.
Governor Obiano was during the ceremony presented with a plaque by the Ohaneze Ndigbo leadership in appreciation of his decision to host her recently concluded summit on Restructuring of Nigeria.

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Editorial

Ohanaeze hails ‘Supreme Court judgment’ on Innoson

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By Ebere Agozie
The Socio-Cultural Organization of Igbos, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has hailed what it called the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the case between Innoson Group of Companies and Guaranty Trust Bank.
Ohanaeze may be congratulating Innoson too soon as GTBank in a statement said the story of a Supreme Court judgment against it was false.
GTB described as mischievous and malicious the story circulating in the news and social media in respect of a purported directive by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make payments to one of its debtor Customers.
“The Bank’s Customers and the General Public are hereby kindly urged to disregard these false statements as nothing could be further from the truth. There was no directive or Order issued by the Supreme Court of Nigeria to the Bank to make any payment to any of its debtor Customers.
“The Bank as a highly responsible corporate citizen will in accordance with its culture and tradition refrain from making comments about on-going litigation matters and will continue to focus on using legal means to recover its bad debts. It must be emphasised that the Bank remains undeterred in its recovery drive against recalcitrant debtors.
“We again reiterate that there is no iota of truth in the falsehood being peddled by desperate and mischievous elements and the General Public should disregard same in its entirety.”, the bank said.
Ohanaeze’s commendation to Innoson was made in a statement released in Abuja on Monday by Chief Emeka Attamah, Media Adviser to its President-General, Chief Nnia Nwodo.
In the statement, Nwodo said that by the judgment, the apex court refused to be used in an ethnic warfare to thwart Innoson of a judicial victory at the Court of Appeal.
“The judgment of the Supreme Court has shown that the judiciary remains the last bastion of hope for the common man.
“It is victory for democracy and an indication that there is still hope for the country.’’
He said that it was obvious that some vested interests were colluding with the EFCC to deny Innoson of his rights and to tarnish his well-earned reputation as a foremost manufacturer and investor in the country.
The president-general ascribed Innoson’s travails to the systematic harassment and intimidation of Igbo sons and daughters in the country due to ethnic sentiments.
He recalled the traumatic experiences of other Igbo sons, including Chief Cletus Ibeto and Chief Ifeanyi Uba, whose businesses were almost grounded by their detractors, but for their tenacity and shrewd business acumen.
“Ohanaeze commended the fighting spirit of Chief Innocent Chukwuma, the CEO of Innoson Group of Companies, for his doggedness and courage notwithstanding attempts to intimidate him with trumped-up criminal charges.
“No amount of intimidation or harassment will dampen the zeal of Ndigbo for a united Nigeria.
“It will only ginger them on in the fight for a restructured nation where every individual will be free to pursue his legitimate aspirations and businesses in a healthy, competitive atmosphere,’’ he said.
Nwodo called on the bank involved to obey the court order and pay the stipulated amount without delay to restore the confidence of the people in it.

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Editorial

United States Announces Additional Humanitarian Aid for People Affected by Conflict in Nigeria and Surrounding Countries

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Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 7, 2018

The United States announces more than $112 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help people in Nigeria and surrounding countries in the Lake Chad region affected by the ongoing crisis.
Nearly a decade of conflict perpetuated by Boko Haram and its offshoot ISIS-West Africa has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the region. More than two million people remain uprooted by the violence, and nearly 11 million people need assistance to survive. The funding in today’s announcement will provide life-saving aid to hundreds of thousands of people, including emergency food, nutrition treatment, shelter, health care, safe drinking water, services for survivors of sexual violence, and support to children separated from their families.
The United States is the largest donor for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad region, having provided nearly $761 million since Fiscal Year 2017. While the United States remains committed to helping the people affected by this conflict, a comprehensive political and security solution is ultimately the only way to end their suffering and bring peace to the region. The United States calls on other donors to step up to address the basic life-saving needs of those displaced and the communities that host them.

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