Govt warns citizens on 2019 weather in Nigeria

Federal and state emergency officials in Nigeria have embarked on an offensive to warn citizens about approaching “dangerous” and “erratic” weather, in a bid to forestall recurring rainy season disasters that have claimed 363 lives and displaced over 3.8million Nigerians living within the River Niger Basin.

In Enugu State, officials of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) have been touring at-risk local communities to warn residents against carrying out economic activities in areas prone to flood during rains, dumping of refuse in drains, and erecting buildings along flood paths.

Led by its Executive Secretary, Mrs. Nkechi Eneh, the Enugu officials have so far visited identified flood-prone communities in four local government council areas to spread the message.

Enugu Electric, the power distributor for the South East, has also warned residents to avoid power lines and to also dissuade their children from playing around flash floods.

Spokesperson of Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Mr. Emeka Eze, told the press that water is a high conductor of electricity and that high-tension wires could snap during thunderstorms and drop on wet floor, flash flood or running water to become energized and cause damage.

“There are situations where there would be incidents somewhere that the wires will snap, or poles will fall on flood water or flowing water moving down a neighbourhood.

‘‘Once that flood or flowing water is in contact with that wire, the water carries the current and whoever comes in contact with the water will be hurt,” he said.

At the national level, intending air passengers have also been advised to study weather bulletins from the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) before embarking on trips.

In a statement, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) drew the attention of air traffic controllers to NIMET’s warning that the advent of rainy season this year will lead to “adverse weather conditions such as severe thunderstorms, squall lines microburst or low-level wind shear.”

Accordingly, a NCAA encouraged the traffic controllers to consider closing air spaces to pilots and their aircraft when necessary, in order to ensure passenger safety at all times.

NiMet had warned in February that Nigeria will experience “very unpleasant” and “erratic” rain patterns this year, which “portends grave danger” to both life and business, including the business of food crops production.

Since 2012 when Nigeria first began experiencing erratic weather conditions during the rains, the Federal Ministry of Environment has reported that 363 Nigerians lost their lives to flood disasters while 3.8million others living within the River Niger basin were displaced from their homes.

Nkechi Eneh, Esq. Executive Secretary of SEMA Enugu

NIMET had also said that Nigeria has been losing over 350,000 hectares of land every year to drought and desertification, thereby not only threatening the livelihood of millions of farmers but also increasing frequencies of coastal flood and storm surge which take over her coastline at the rate of 30 to 40 meters of land annually.

“Such losses to extreme weather phenomena could be minimized by using early warning information such as NiMet’s seasonal rainfall prediction,” the agency said at a workshop in March 2019.

“The rains are here, and flood is imminent,” SEMA’s Nkechi Eneh warns at each stop during her sensitization tour. Apart from giving tips to the people on basic risk-reduction measures, Eneh also advises that citizens watch out for early warning signals so that those living in low-lying areas would quickly relocate if signs of flooding are detected.

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Twist in Nurse Amadi’s murder trial

In a curious twist, a police prosecutor has presented an affidavit to the Chief Judge of Enugu State, seeking to exonerate and free three staff of Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital Enugu currently standing trial for the murder of Mrs. Maria Amadi who until her death was Head of Nursing Services at the hospital.

Mrs. Amadi, from Aku in Igbo-Etiti LGA of Enugu State, was shot and killed by gunmen at about 4.00pm on Thursday, 21 March 2019, right in front of her home at Trans-Ekulu, Enugu.

Enugu Police arrested and charged for the murder three members of staff of the hospital, including the principal of the School of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Mrs. Buzo-Ruth Maduka, and the vice principal, Afam Ndu.

The affidavit, which was deposed to on 24 June 2019, however pointed to two other persons, Chidi Nwobi and “Amingo” as being among the gang of robbers behind the brazen daylight murder.

According to the police prosecutor, the affidavit was sworn to by Mr. Samuel Ekwechi a self-described pastor who also introduces himself as a private investigator,

In the affidavit, Ekwechi swears that “by virtue of the level of my involvement in the intelligence work,” he witnessed a 19 June 2019 interrogation of two suspects by the police in the persons of “Chidi Nwobi and Amingo in relation to the crimes they have been committing.”

“Without any molestation or torture of any sort, Chidi Nwobi openly confessed to many armed robbery escapades and in particular confessed that it was he and his gang of other three persons that shot the deceased Maria Amadi at Trans-Ekulu Enugu, and that they did not mean to kill her but only wanted to rob her of money and other valuables.”

On the basis of the alleged self-confession of Nwobi, Pastor Ekwechi therefore concluded that “all … members of staff of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Enugu who were remanded in this case, as well as all those still currently held in detention at Abuja as part of investigation into this case, are by virtue of the open confession of Chidi Nwobi and Amingo completely innocent of the allegation.”

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He emphasized in the affidavit that the alleged murderers claimed that they were “not paid, sponsored, hired or instructed to kill or attack the deceased by anybody else,” and that the interview was “video-recorded and can now be confirmed by the police authorities in the State.”

The affidavit marked Motion No: E/210m/2019 was dated and filed by the pastor on the same day, Monday, 24 June 2019.

When contacted by newsmen to comment on the development, Enugu Police Command spokesperson, DSP Ebere Amaraizu, said he was out of town.

The killing of Nurse Amadi provoked consternation and anger in the Enugu medical community.

In a rare show of solidarity, members of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives, Enugu State chapter, the Joint Health Sector Union, and the Association of Resident Doctors staged a public protest against the murder.

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi equally announced a bounty of N5million to anyone with information that leads to arrest of Nurse Amadi’s killers.

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Old Girls donate solar power to Enugu Queens

Queens School Enugu now has 24-hour solar power supply to help students with their studies, courtesy of the school’s alumni association based in faraway North East USA.

The system was unveiled in the school on Thursday, 27 June 2019, at a grand event witnessed by governors of Enugu and Anambra States among a host of dignitaries and illustrious alumni.

President of Queens School Enugu North East Chapter in U.S., Mrs. Nkolika Uwaeche, disclosed that the solar power system was solely donated by a member, Dr. Titi Njemanze. The Chapter will undertake maintenance of the project for a period of 25 years, she said.

“When we are in Queens School, our dance troupe was “Egwu Touch.” We see ourselves as light; this means that wherever we found ourselves, we light up the society.

“We take this up literally because we feel that the light will enable Queens students to study hard and be the best they can be,” Uwaeche said.

A clearly elated Chairperson of Queens School Old Girls Association, Mrs. Margaret Nwagbuo, said the system has the capacity to supply power to the whole school and praised the North East USA Old Girls chapter for the feat.

She said that the system will enable the children study better and in a good secured environment.

“Work hard, use the light to study, and make a name for Queens School,” Nwagbuo admonished the students.

Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

The solar power system was commissioned by Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who used the occasion to ask the school authorities to compile a list of other projects that need the attention of the State Government and forward to him.

Enugu State Government owns the Queens School, which it inherited from the former Eastern Region.

Ugwuanyi also promised to complete ongoing government projects in the school and equally donated N1.5m to the schools Egwu Touch dance troupe.

A senior adviser who represented Anambra State’s Governor, Mr. Willy Obiano, offered words of encouragement to the students while a former Secretary to Enugu State Government, Chief Onyemuche Nnamani urged the alumni chapters to consider providing tablets to enable Queens students “be on the same page with their counterparts in the private schools.”

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FG bans Enugu Disco from Electricity Market

EEDC Headquarters, Enugu

FG bans Enugu Disco from Electricity Market for inability to pay for power supplied by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). This raises the prospect of long and bitter power outage for the entire South East region.

The Enugu company is among the three distributors that the federal government has suspended from the market, the other two being Ikeja and Lagos distribution companies.

Their suspension means that the companies would no longer buy electricity in Nigeria for distribution to their customers.

The Federal Government has accused the companies of flouting market rules, as it concerns renewal of their security cover – the deposits that they are expected to make to guarantee future payments for power supplied.
Enugu Electric is already under suspension, via an order issued by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

Deputy managing director of Enugu Electric, Mr. Paul Okeke, accepted that his company is in default and making frantic efforts to procure and deliver the security cover.

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