The Anambra State Government has confirmed that 75 persons have been jailed for collecting illegal revenue from unsuspecting members of the public despite the suspension of levies in the state by Governor Willie Obiano.
The Commissioner for Trade and Commerce, Mr Christian Madubuko, who briefed journalists on Monday while parading three persons, including a traditional chief who were arrested for extorting money from traders using fake receipts, said the suspects would also be handed over to the police who would in turn charge them to court.
The ministry has intensified efforts on the clampdown of illegal revenue collection, since Governor Obiano suspended the collection of levies in the state.
Madubuko confirmed that about 100 persons have so far been arrested in the state for the offence, and that his office would not relent until all fake revenue agents were cleared from the state.
“Go to the Niger Bridge head in Onitsha, once you enter the state from Asaba, they start harassing you with all manner of taxes, and that does not tell good of our state. This must stop. We are handing these suspects over to the police who will charge them to court,” he said.
The suspects — Nze Francis Eze; leader of the revenue collection, Mr. Vincent EzeObi; the driver and Gilbert Ugochukwu — were arrested in Ekwulobia market, Aguata Local Government, while extorting money from market men and women.
Madubuko said: “They are enemies of the state government. The government has banned toll collections and yet they are collecting money from people. They are living on extorting money from people. They extort money from traders coming to do business in the state and those doing business in the state.
“Sometimes, they present all kinds of documents authorising them to carry out their illegal activities.
“Before handing them over to the police, we will take out time to call the traditional ruler and the local government authority, which they are claiming empowered them to collect the levies. Of course I am sure they are lying, because the state government cannot suspend levies and you say a traditional ruler authorised you.”
Content provided by David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka
Anambra offers automatic employment to physically challenged couple
Anambra state government has offered automatic employment to a physically challenged couple, Mr. Ndubueze Ezemba and Mrs. Comfort Ezemba.
The couple, who wedded on April 27, 2019, challenged by hearing, were offered the employment together with visually impaired groom Mr. Agbanu Kelechi.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Matters Bar. Chuks Ezewuzie, said the offers were part of the automatic employment scheme the Obiano-led administration has for persons with disabilities in the state.
Ezewuzie spoke at the weekend when the beneficiaries visited his office to collect their wedding gifts from the Governor.
Responding, the couple expressed appreciation to the governor for honouring their wedding invitation.
They applauded his magnanimity towards persons with disabilities in the state.
Obiano bags senior civil servant’ excellence in governance award
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has won the excellence in governance award of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria.
State chairman of the Association, Comrade Ifeanyi Okechukwu, said the award was presented to the governor for his uncommon transformation of the State.
Okechukwu who noted that the award was part of the 2019 worker’s day celebration, said Obiano deserved the numerous accolades being showered on him.
He said, “Organized labour in and outside the state have variously appreciated the Governor for prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensions in a country where other states are owing months and years of backlog of salaries.
“His firm promise to be the first to pay the new National minimum wage of 30,000 naira is also worth commending.”
Okechukwu who doubles as the state chairman, Trade Union Congress (TUC), recalled that the State had also been rated highly by the World Bank as the best performing state in the South East and South South in the implementation of World Bank projects.
He noted that the security, education, agriculture and other sectors continue to do very well in the state and stressing that on many indices, Anambra State stands tall among equals.
“Some of the achievements so far recorded by the association under governor Obiano administration include, payment of the three years arrears of salaries owed water corporation staff and the payment of 1.8billion Local government pension arrears.
Receiving the award, governor Willie Obiano, thanked the association for the award, assuring his commitment to doing more including his promise to pay the new minimum wage.
The Igboka spirit will continue to guide Obiano
The nation seems to have become so inured to mass killings in recent times that it hardly makes news if five persons are killed in one fell swoop in a place. Anambra State is different. On the very few occasions where there has been a killing or kidnapping for ransom in the last four years in the state, both the government and the people consider it sacrilegious and swung into action at once. The result is that Anambra has become the safest state in Nigeria.
Anambra’s reputation as Nigeria’s safest state is frequently ascribed to the current administration’s desire to make the state the first place, which investors will consider for business. After all, capital is regarded as a coward; it goes to places where it is not likely to be threatened.
There is a more fundamental explanation, which explains Anambra’s strong commitment to a crime-free society, but it is seldom mentioned. One is referring to the strong belief by the state’s leadership that life is sacred and must be treated as such in all circumstances. This belief pattern is well established, as there are numerous instances to cite.
Governor Willie Obiano is, for example, known to always stop at accident scenes and personally join in taking care of the victims. He regularly visits accident victims in hospital and pays their medical bills.
For any leader to succeed anywhere, he must be seen as caring. A caring leader enjoys the trust of the people. A society where there is a substantial stock of trust between the leaders and their followers often progresses more rapidly economically than a society with high trust deficit.
As an indigene of Nimo, which last April 16 lost the president-general of the town development union, Chief Frank Tony Igboka, to four young gunmen because he was fighting cultism effectively in the town, one has followed with keen interest Governor Obiano’s response to the murder. Less than two hours after Igboka was killed and the commissioner of police briefed him, the governor, who was abroad, reacted like a wounded lion. He is Anambra’s chief security officer and, more importantly, someone who values human life and the dignity of the human person tremendously. On returning to Nigeria, Obiano headed for the Igbokas’ residence in Nimo to console them.
“Anyone who thinks that he can spill the blood of an innocent Anambra person and go scot-free is living in a fool’s paradise,” Obiano had declared in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, immediately Igboka was killed.
“It is a shame that the killing of Chief Igboka should take place in the week leading to Easter, when men and women of goodwill throughout the world are reconciling themselves with God and fellow human beings. His father, Sir Vincent Igboka, a distinguished papal knight, was a great Christian missionary who devoted his whole being to the spread of the Good News. He worked in such a way that he is being considered for canonization in some quarters.”
Just four days after the gruesome murder, the leader of the unconscionable gangsters, Chigbo Aniegbu, whose house is only two houses away from that of Frank Tony Igboka, was captured by the police. He was to confess to the media when Police Commissioner Mustapha Dandaura paraded him before newsmen on April 28 at the state police headquarters in Amawbia that he was among those who eliminated Chief Igboka, a former member of the House of Assembly who also had been chairman of Njikoka Local Government Area.
On Friday, May 3, the Anambra State Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested the second suspect in the Igboka murder. An indigene of Obosi, Idemili North LGA, the suspect quickly confessed to the murder. “Na we kill am,” he said.
Most Nigerians don’t know what the Igboka family has gone through in the last few weeks. The elder brother of the slain Nimo Town Development Union president-general, Chief Charles Igboka, who was a diplomat in Europe, had been in the mortuary for two weeks when his brother was killed. Their cousin, Ebube Anthony Igboka, died two weeks earlier of liver complications, which cost the family a fortune because the illness lasted long. Their uncle’s wife, Mrs. Mary Grace Igboka, had died two weeks earlier. And the star of the family expected to carry on the family torch, Chief Frank Tony Igboka, was assassinated.
We thank Governor Obiano for rising heroically to the occasion. He mobilised all the security agencies to work tirelessly and effectively to bring the murderers of Chief Igboka to justice. The N5 million bounty, which was later increased to N15 million, has proved to be a fantastic incentive to people with information leading to the arrest of the assassins. The spirit of the Igbokas will continue to guide our dedicated governor. The Igbokas are famous for profound respect for human dignity, solidarity and inclusiveness. From the way Chief Obiano has responded to the Igboka tragedy, no one would ever know that he and the slain politician belonged to different political parties.
It is reminiscent of how Governor Obiano led the weeklong burial of former Vice President Alex Ekwueme in January 2018, even though they belonged to different parties; in fact, Dr. Ekwueme’s daughter was the PDP deputy governorship candidate against Chief Obiano in the November 17, 2017, gubernatorial election in Anambra State. In other words, only two days after the election in which his daughter ran against Governor Obiano, Dr. Ekwueme died. But Obiano showed no bitterness whatsoever in his attitude to the Ekwueme family. This is the kind of accommodation and inclusiveness that Nigeria needs.
Anambra State will remain safe, peaceful, united, accommodating, progressive and exemplary under Governor Obiano.
•Arubaleze, an indigene of Nimo, is a legal practitioner in Lagos
Judges of African Court to visit Nigeria
A delegation of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights is paying a one-week visit to the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
The delegation led by led by its President, Justice Sylvain Ore will also meet key Nigerian officials from the 29th of April 29 to 4th of May, 2019 in Abuja.
The Court says the visit is part of the on-going efforts to strengthen ties with regional Courts on the continent.
“It will help to enhance judicial co-operation and share experiences between the two courts” a statement from the court reads.
The reciprocal visit follows the inaugural visit by the ECOWAS Court of Justice to the Arusha-based Court early last year during which a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU was signed.
The African Court delegation includes; three judges and senior Registry Staff who will also pay a courtesy visit to the Nigeria President, Mohammadu Buhari, Foreign Affairs and Justice Ministries.
Buhari Proceeds On 10 Days Private Visit To UK
President Muhammadu Buhari will proceed on a private visit to the United Kingdom on Thursday.
The President is expected to take off from Maiduguri, Borno State, where he is scheduled to visit and commission several developmental projects this Thursday.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina says President Buhari is billed to return to Nigeria on May 5, 2019.
President Muhammadu Buhari was in Lagos on Wednesday where he commissioned a number of projects executed by the state government.
Aso Rock lashes Rev.Fr Mamza over rudeness to Buhari
The Presidency on Monday lashed back at the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Rt. Rev. Fr. Stephen Mamza, who unguardedly had described President Muhammadu Buhari as ”sleeping on duty as Commander-in-Chief.”
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, said the comment was unbecoming of a religious leader, to engage ”in an action that broke the old tradition of staying above politics”.
The presidential aide not only described the comment unfair, but also went further to educate him on President Buhari’s various efforts to improve the state of affairs in Nigeria, particularly in the North east, ravaged by Boko Haram before May 29, 2015.
Shehu said: ”In an action that broke the old tradition of staying above politics, the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Rt. Rev. Fr. Stephen Mamza delivered a homily in which he spoke angrily against President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he described as ‘sleeping on duty as Commander-in-Chief.’
”This is not a fair comment.
”There is so much that has changed in the past three to four years in and around Yola, and the Catholic Church in particular that a true assessment would show that but for the Change Administration of President Buhari, things would have continued the way they were, or even get worse. These could not have happened if a Commander-in- Chief was asleep.”
Shehu, however, noted that Mamza was part of the success story recorded by the Buhari administration in Northeast, especially in Adamawa.
”Bishop Mamza was, and is still a strong member of the Adamawa Peace Initiative (API), composed of religious and community leaders which did the lovely work housing and feeding 400,000 displaced people from Northern Adamawa and Borno States in 2015.
”The API also did the extraordinary work of easing tensions between Muslims and Christians during that period and ensured that both groups did not turn on one another based on suspicion.
”As widely reported by the local and international press, in the premises of St. Theresa’s Cathedral where Rev. Mamza ministered, there were more than 1,500 IDPs, mostly women and children on whom the church administered food rations and issued bags of maize, cooking oil and seasoning.
”We are truly touched and very grateful for the work that the Bishop and the others had done in that difficult period,” he said.
The presidential spokesman maintained that as ”the Boko Haram has been degraded, the more than 400,000 displaced people absorbed by the Adamawa community have all gone back to Borno State and to those council areas in northern Adamawa.
”In addition to the capital,Yola, the towns of Michika, Madagali and Mubi which had been occupied by Boko Haram during their military advances have since been retaken by the Nigerian military”.
According to him, the military personnel are also clearing litters of Boko Haram’s carnage and are, through the support of the administration as well as local and international partners, rebuilding roads and bridges, power lines, burnt schools, markets, destroyed churches and mosques.
”Without an iota of doubt, the Northeast is better off with President Buhari than it was under the previous administration.
”That should explain the massive turnout of voters in the region, in spite of threats to life and property, to vote for the return of the President for a Second Term of four years.
”Sadly, one of the realities of today’s Nigeria is that it easy to blame President Buhari for the violence all around us,” he added
Shehu condemned situations were community leaders were ”too scared to blame the warlords and the sponsors of killings” because they fear for their own lives.
He said: ”What is happening in several communities racked by inter-ethnic and religious violence is arising from the refusal of community leaders to point at known criminals in their midst for the law enforcement agencies to act against them.
”They rather blame President Buhari for their woes.
”It is indeed an irony that in the week that Bishop Mamza was speaking, another Bishop with a known commitment to peace, and results to show for his work in neighbouring Plateau State, is being dispatched to go to Taraba, Adamawa and Benue to work in collaboration with security agencies in mending broken inter-communal relationships.”
While sympathising with families of those who lost loved ones as well as those injured, Shehu said this senseless violence could never be condoned by the Buhari administration.
He added that the administration’s intense security efforts and peace building would not only continue, ”but will expand in response to such explosions of violence in the country.”
UN Humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria expresses condolences for the death of two aid workers in attack by gunmen
Faye Mooney had been working in Nigeria for nearly two years and was known for her devotion to making a difference and countering hate speech and violence.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, has extended his heartfelt condolences to the families, colleagues and friends of two aid workers who lost their lives in Friday’s attack on Kajuru Castle, a holiday resort 220 kilometers north of Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.
Faye Mooney, a British communications and learning specialist with non-governmental organisation Mercy Corps, and Matthew Oguche, a Nigerian training assistant with the International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO), were killed when gunmen stormed the resort in Kaduna State, spraying gunfire and reportedly kidnapping three other individuals.
“I express my deepest sympathies to the families, colleagues and friends of these brave and dedicated aid workers, who were selflessly committed to humanitarian work in Nigeria. This horrific tragedy has left the entire humanitarian community in mourning,” said Mr. Kallon.
Faye Mooney had been working in Nigeria for nearly two years and was known for her devotion to making a difference and countering hate speech and violence. Matthew Oguche was training not-for-profit partners in personal safety and hostile environment awareness and was passionate about helping others.
Nigerian leader condemns terrorists attack in Sri Lanka
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari has expressed shock and sadness over the terrible attacks on several churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on the holy day of Easter.
On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, the President extends deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks and wishes speedy recovery to the injured.
“We stand with victims of terrorism all over the world because we know and understand this harrowing inhuman activity,” the President said.
Noting that Nigeria stands with the people of Sri Lanka at this terrible moment, President Buhari urges the authorities not to spare the wicked elements behind these mischievous attacks.
South-South Governors Seek Dignified Exit For Onnoghen
The South-South Governors may have resolved to intervene in the resignation saga of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen.
The Governors intend to meet President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to persuading him to accept Onnoghen’s resignation letter.
Buhari is yet to act on the letter or the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, NJC, that the CJN be compulsorily retired.
Onnoghen turned in his letter 24 hours after the NJC met and decided that he had to go having lost the moral authority to continue as CJN with the litany of allegations bordering on misconduct against him.
The majority of the South-South Governors have bought the idea of intervening in the Onnoghen matter.
It was also learnt that Onnoghen actually attempted to negotiate his exit with three conditions before the NJC advised the President to retire him.
The presidency rejected the Onnoghen exit conditions and opted to see his trial through at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Obiano offers N5m bounty for arrest of ex-Anambra lawmaker’s killers
Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has announced a N5 million reward for anyone with useful information on the identity of the killers of the President General of Nimo Town Development Union (NTDU), Chief Frank Anthony Igboka.
Igboka, who was a former member of Anambra State House of Assembly, was assassinated Tuesday night by unknown gunmen inside his car around Oye Nimo market area in Njikoka local government of the state.
Confirming the killing, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Haruna Mohammed said that it happened about 8.18pm and preliminary investigation showed that Igboka was shot at close range by four armed men.
The gunmen, he said, escaped in a pickup van towards Abacha Eziowelle road, while 25 expended ammunitions were recovered at the scene.
Commissioner of Police Mustapha Dandaura visited the scene Tuesday night and ordered for a full scale investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident and to bring perpetrators to justice.
In a statement by the State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, Gov. Obiano, setting aside a N5 million reward, had directed the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State to personally lead a team to apprehend the killers immediately.
He said, “He has, in addition, directed the Department of State Security, intelligence officers in the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Navy as well as the Nigerian Security and Defence Corps to join the Nigeria Police Force in the task to bring the culprits quickly.
“The governor described the killing as utterly heartless, noting that Chief Tony Frank’s elder brother, Chief Charles Igboka, a former Nigerian diplomat in Europe, died only two weeks ago and was yet to be buried.
“It is a shame that the killing of Chief Igboka should take place in the week leading to Easter when men and women of goodwill throughout the world are reconciling themselves with God and fellow human beings.
“His father, Sir Vincent Igboka, a distinguished papal knight, was a great Christian missionary who devoted his whole being to the spread of the Good News. He worked in such a way that he is being considered for canonization in some quarters.”
Emphasizing that no stone would be left unturned in the effort to make Anambra remain the safest and most peaceful state in Nigeria, Obiano said, “Anyone who thinks that he can spill the blood of an innocent Anambra person and go scot-free is living in a fool’s paradise.”
“All the persons who have in the last five years attempted to spill blood in the state have been caught up by the long arms of the law. Chief Igboka’s killers cannot be different.”
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Aguleri , The Citadel Of Igbo Civilisation
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Driving Job Creation for Africa’s Youth: Mentor to Watch.
Ada Osakwe, CEO of Agrolay Ventures
Ada is an award-winning food entrepreneur and investor. She was also a lead in the launch of the Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) that supported the rise of a new cadre of food-entrepreneurs in Nigeria through training, mentorship and financing. Ada is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow.
In 2016, she was Entrepreneur of the Year and featured on Choiseul 100 Africa list consecutively from 2016 to 2018. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award and was on the 2014 Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list. She is also a mentor on the Future Global Leaders Fellowship.
Uzodinma Iweala : CEO of The Africa Center in New York.
Uzodinma is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. He is the CEO of The Africa Center in New York, promoting a new narrative about Africa and its diaspora through a focus on culture, policy and business. He is the author of three books: Beasts of No Nation (2005), a novel also adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People (2012), a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about coming-of-age in Washington, D.C. His books have been mentioned by Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone. ‘Uzodinma Iweala completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and he earned a medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.’
ENTER NIGERIA Winning Sunday with The Young Netpreneur for the Week :Ken Nwadiogbu @kennwadio
Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994) is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist, popularly known as KenArt, whose practice is primarily centered around hyper-realistic drawings and works on paper.
Nwadiogbu believes that the society speaks- This voice inspires his art, which evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within the society. In his reply to this society, he is able to inspire one or two people to also re-valuate their socio-political structures as we know it. The desire to change his society and the way people think is what drives him to create art every day. Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Nwadiogbu was born in Lagos, Nigeria and holds a B.Sc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His art career started in the university, and with no formal training, has pushed him to become one of the most interesting young contemporary artists from Nigeria, creating works that question life- calling out some of the problems and becoming very grounded in human consciousness..
Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx. He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria.
To Nwadiogbu, Art is indeed timeless, it is his solace and hiding place, a safe haven he has found to be devoid of restrictions, boxes and boundaries.