Nigeria suspends cargo exports from Lagos ports

Management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) suspend cargo export trucks from Lagos Ports for two weeks to free traffic gridlock.

The ban took effect from 22 March 2021, NPA Chief Executive Hadiza Bala Usman announced during a Monday radio programme.

Non-oil exporters yesterday criticized the decision, which they said reflects inefficiency in the management of the ports.

NPA is however standing by its decision.

“We have a backlog of over 600 trucks that have approached the port coming out of their truck parks and are currently in that location within the port corridors, within the Lilypond,” Usman complained.

“So, we are suspending all export cargoes.”

Usman said the problem is improper harmonization of procedures for export and that NPA has invited stakeholders to explore solutions.

Exporters, she said, do not wait for terminal operators to give them clearance to approach and do not get all required certifications from supervisory agencies.

She specifically listed “several custom certifications and CBN documents” among the documents that exporter need to complete before dispatching trucks.

“If any of your documents are not ready, you must remain within your location. Actually, you shouldn’t even start your journey to the ports,” she warned.

The Network of Practicing Non-oil Exporters of Nigeria (NPNEN) complained that the suspension has damaged the credibility of Nigerian exporters.

NPNEN President Alhaji Ahmed Rabiu said at a conference event yesterday that the ban affects existing export orders and production.

“When you ban exports for two weeks, you can imagine the ripple effects. The person who has products in his warehouse has to stop production. Orders that were made have to be delayed, creating loss of confidence,” he said.

“These are issues that wouldn’t have happened if things were done right,” he said.

36m Nigerians join APC, says Gov. Badaru

About 36m Nigerians join All Progressives Congress (APC) in its current membership drive which ends 31 March, six days away.

Gov. Mai Mala Buni (Yobe State) said yesterday that APC needs to retain power for 32 years to change lives,

“APC will improve lives if given the opportunity to be in charge for eight terms,” he said in Abuja.

With a 36m membership strength, APC members alone can elect Nigeria’s president beyond 32 years it needs to change lives. In 2019, for example, the presidential election outcome was decided on 26 million votes cast nationwide. The winner of the election, APC’s President Buhari, scored 57 percent of the votes cast (15,191,847) to prevail.

Gov. Buni who heads the national caretaker planning committee for APC’s upcoming “Extraordinary Convention” spoke at the inauguration of the Party’s Strategy Committee which took place at the party headquarters in Abuja.

The party’s current membership drive will produce “a solid structure” that will stand the test of time, he said

Buni also announced that efforts to woo other political party members into APC “recorded remarkable and unprecedented successes.”

The disclosure of current membership strength was however made by Jigawa Governor, Muhammad Badaru, who heads the Strategy Committee inaugurated yesterday.

South East politicians are not left behind, since Ebonyi Governor Dave Umahi abandoned the PDP to join the party.

Enugu Party faithful gathered last week at Ituku, Awgu LGA to bid farewell to Chief Titus Okolo, retired Commissioner of Police.

Okolo, a quiet member of the APC, represented the South East in the board of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

His funeral was an opportunity for party leaders to showcase the improved membership strength of the APC in Enugu State.

Enugu Metro learnt that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is rattled by ongoing citizen migration to APC in Enugu.

In response, PDP has revived its monthly meetings at zonal, LGA and wards levels, which were abandoned in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Governor Ugwuanyi has also issued appointment letters to scores of youths designated as special and technical assistants in a bid to check the migration.

Rangers advance to 2nd spot, beat Nasarawa 3-1

Rangers International of Enugu beat Nasarawa United FC 3-1 on Monday to climb to second spot on the league table.

Two early successive goals sealed the fate of Nasarawa United FC on its quest for points at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in the Coal City.

The two goals came from Godspower Aniefiok’s beautiful header and a free kick close to the 18-yard box taken by Isaac Loute.

With this win, Rangers is now second on the Nigeria Professional Football League table. Although it shares the same 30 points with league leaders Kwara United, the Ilorin squad has a superior goal difference.

The goalkeeper spilled Loute’s shot and the free ball was intercepted and neatly tapped into the net by Chinonso Eziekwe in the 8th minute.

The goals humbled the “solid minerals” gang from the Nasarawa and buoyed supporters of Coal City boys to sing “Holy 3×” at “the Cathedral” on Monday.

The Match Day 17 Nigeria Professional Football League encounter incidentally happened on the first-year anniversary of the death of striker Ifeanyi George.

Before they were substituted, “flying Antelopes” duo of Chidiebere Nwobodo and Christian Nnaji kept tormenting the defense line of Nasarawa manned by Ebuka Anaekwe and Tebo Franklin.

 Nasarawa’s Coach Nikiyu of Nasarawa quickly changed three players, including Goalkeeper Danlami Umar and introduced Godwin Ameh to halt the incessant assault.

Rangers Chief Coach, Mangut Mbwas withdrew the duo and replaced Chidiebere with Vandagar Daniel and Christian by Ifeanyi Okoro.

Coach Mbwas said he was happy with the result.

“The most important thing in the match is the three points and we are happy we got them just as we started the game on a very good note.

“In the second half we gave them too much room to operate but thankfully they could not convert some of the chances created. 

“I am very happy to be amongst the scorers today and even more, the victory at the end of the match.”

Ifeanyi George anniversary
Late Striker Ifeanyi George

“Nasarawa United is a highly motivated side and they came here with all intentions to slow us down. The early goals helped us to stabilize and we thank God for the win.”

Godspower Aniefiok who got the opening goal of the day and his third for the season for the Enugu side, was also elated.

He dedicated the goal to his former teammate and friend, late Ifeanyi George, who died exactly one year on Monday when the match was played.

“I am glad I scored a goal for him today,” Aniefiok said.

With this win, Rangers is now second on the Nigeria Professional Football League table. Although it shares the same 30 points with league leaders Kwara United, the Ilorin squad has a superior goal difference.

For its next match, Rangers will travel to Jos to play Plateau United this Sunday, 28 March 2021.

Match Line-Up (Rangers):

  • Seidu Mutawakilu
  • Osas Okoro
  • Isaac Loute (Ifeanyi Nweke -57th Min.)
  • Tony Shimaga
  • Ebuka Anthony
  • Ernest Governor
  • Chidiebere Nwobodo(Daniel Vandagar -82nd Min.)
  • Godspower Aniefiok (Ajayi Femi -73rd Min.), Esor Achibong
  • Christian Nnaji (Ifeanyi Okoro -73rd Min.) Chinonso Eziekwe (Kenechukwu Agu -57th Min.)

On the Bench: Femi Thomas, Issif Traore, Tony Eliagwu, Shedrack Asiegbu.

Enugu dance talent hunt this Easter @Oaklands

Enugu, the Coal City, is experiencing a dance talent hunt this Easter 2021 at the Oakland Hotels, so come and be a part of the fun and dance.

Unwind and enjoy this Easter @ Oaklandhotels Parkview Enugu

It’s happening LIVE on the 4th and 5th of April, 2021 in Oaklands Hotel and Park, Enugu. We can not wait to have you on our Dance Talent Hunt Show this Easter. Please plan ahead to guarantee a thrilling experience. It promises to be fun packed as the winners will be going home with lots of amazing packages, also featuring are comedy, karaoke, drama etc.

Your compliance with the Covid-19 protocols t this Enugu dance talent hunt ensures everyone’s safety.
Be Responsible.

For more information call the numbers on the cover photo above.

See Oakland listing in the Enugu Local Directory, eMetro

Anambra moves to deepen broadband use

Anambra State Government will on 30 March host a stakeholders’ forum on moves to deepen broadband infrastructure use in the State.

Federal and state officials as well as diplomats, investors, and industry associations are expected at the virtual forum which will kick off by 2.00 p.m.

The theme of the Forum is “Facilitating Broadband Access in Anambra State through a Favourable Right of Way Regime.” 

The State had in June 2020 waived charges for Right of Way (RoW) for fibre optic cable deployment, from N600 per linear meter to Zero Naira.

The slash was part of  the State’s “Integrated Urban Regeneration Initiative,” designed to reverse infrastructure decline in urban and semi-urban areas.

Officials said the programme would also boost digital infrastructure rollout to towns and communities, diversify the economy, and leverage digital services for commerce, education, innovation, manufacturing and eGoverment.

Federal officials, including Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, have praised Anambra’s commitment to a Digital Economy.

Chair of the State Physical Planning Board (ANSPPB), Barr. Chike Maduekwe, said the forum is in line with the strategy to create a robust and sustainable digital economy for Anambra State.

He described Broadband Infrastructure Development programme as a subset of the “Anambra State Integrated Urban Regeneration Initiative.

Anambra State is ready for broadband infrastructure investments, he said.

“Anambra State Government has drawn inspiration from the Federal Government’s efforts and initiatives, but also recognizes that it needs the support of players in the ecosystem, for a success of its broadband rollout programme in the State.

We envisage that high level involvement and participation in our planned Stakeholders’ Forum is a critical first step in this direction”, he explained.

Anambra moves to deepen broadband use

Anambra Security Worsens, lawyers say

Leaders of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) branches in Anambra State say the security situation has worsened and they will boycott the courts for two days to express their displeasure.

The lawyers expressed concern about recent cases of kidnapping and gruesome murder of innocent citizens and security personnel.

They described the situation as being ”highly tensed up and frightening to say the least,” and asked that the authorities stop downplaying the phenomenon. Instead, the State Government was asked to urgently convene a meeting of Security agencies in the State to address the issue squarely.

“Failure by the State Government to act immediately may lead to a descent to anarchy.

“We all cannot continue to downplay the Security situation or pretend that all is well,” the lawyers said, charging that “nothing is being done to curb this frightening security challenges.” 

According to them, Federal and state officials as well as the police should “wake up and be alive to their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties of the citizens.”

The lawyers recalled that last week, a lawyer and community leader of Omor in Ayamelum LGA, Mr. Frank Onwuachi, was “kidnapped along Ezu River/Anaku Road and gruesomely murdered the following day by his captors.”

“Yesterday, 19 March, two Prison Officers were killed at Ekwulobia, Aguata LGA and this is barely 24 hours after Naval officers and policemen were killed at Awkuzu and Neni respectively.

“Also, a Naval Outpost close to Bridgehead was attacked sometimes last week resulting to the killings of some Naval officers and their weapons carted away.

The lawyers have resolved to mobilize their members for a visit to Gov. Willie Obiano to register their annoyance.

They will boycott court sittings in the State from tomorrow 22 March to Wednesday, 24 March. All lawyers were asked to assemble at the Judiciary Headquarters tomorrow, from where they will proceed to Government House, Awka.

The position of the lawyers was signed by chair of all NBA branches in the State, including Ekene Okonkwo (Awka branch), Kaine Ananwune (Anaocha), Mr. A.U Okafor (Otuocha), Kingsley Awuka (Nnewi), and Dr. B.E Ewulum (Idemili). Other NBA branch chairs that signed the statement are Vitalis Ihedigbo (Ihiala), Abel Ofoma (Aguata) and Mr. Onyechi Ononye who heads Onitsha as well as the Branches in Anambra.

Ugwuanyi makes great impact on rural growth, says former aide

Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is 57 today. Nze Gab Onuzulike, a former rural development commissioner in his Cabinet, recalls impact that the Enugu State Governor has made in rural areas.

 A former Enugu State Cabinet Member and two-time Local Council Chair said today that Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi positively impacts rural communities of Enugu State in a very significant manner.

Nze Gab A. Onuzulike, immediate past Commissioner for Rural Development, said this in a goodwill message sent to the Governor through Enugu Metro.

Nze Onuzulike said the Enugu Governor needs to be appreciated and applauded for his proactive peace keeping efforts and focused development of rural communities.

He specifically mentioned very rapid and timely responses to incidents of fire outbreaks in rural areas of the State which ended years of anguish and huge economic losses suffered by the people.

Ugwuanyi strides in rural development
Nze Gab Onuzulike, former Rural Development Commissioner, Enugu State

This is possible, he said, because the Governor approved a face lift for Enugu Fire Service under the Commissioner’s watch.

The agency had been neglected since 1962, he recalled.

“Thank you, Your Excellency, for making this possible by approving the purchase of additional five brand new fire trucks (bringing to 15 the number of functional firefighting trucks), construction of five new fire stations located in rural areas in the three senatorial zones, and building human capacity in the service.

“Today, Enugu State Fire Service is rated as Number One in the country, in terms of efficiency,” he said.

Consequently, it was relatively easy for the Governor to attract the South East Zonal Headquarters of the Federal Fire Service to Enugu within the period, Onuzulike said.

Nze Onuzulike also pointed out the impact of Government’s Open Partnership with traditional rulers and town Unions which led to the approval of N10million to each autonomous community to execute a project of their choice.

“Half of the approved grants were disbursed, and its impact has been massive as majority of the benefitting communities applied the funds to their peculiar development needs.”

The two-time Chairman Of Oji River LGA also listed other notable accomplishments of the governor in rural areas including proactive peacekeeping to protect farmers and their crops in rural communities, and massive rural infrastructural development projects in education, healthcare, rural roads, agriculture.”

He encouraged the governor in the message to continue with the massive impact he is making in Enugu’s rural areas.

 “As you mark your birthday today March 20, 2021, I bring to you my good wishes and pray that God will continue to bless and use you to further entrench good governance in Enugu State,” Onuzulike said.

Gunmen attack police in Anambra State

Unidentified gunmen unleash mayhem, attack police and military officers in three lightning strikes in various LGAs of Anambra State.

Over a period of two days, three lethal but separate attacks were launched at Neni, Awkuzu, and Ekwulobia.

Ekwulobia Police Station is the target of the latest attack which happened today, 19 March. Reports say two persons were killed during the attack, but Enugu Metro could not independently confirm this claim.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) however said officers of Nigerian Correctional Service Prisons Service) were targets of the attack.

Officials of the Service escorting detainees to court were ambushed and attacked, eye witnesses told NAN, which reported that two persons died in the attack.

NAN also spoke to spokesperson of the Service in Anambra, Mr. Francis Ekechukwu who confirmed the incident.

Anambra Police spokesperson, Ikenganyia Tochukwu, a deputy superintendent, could only say that police immediately mobilized to repel the Ekwulobia attack. He did not say if there were casualties.

The Ekwulobia Police station was torched during the #EndSARS youth campaign against police heavy handedness. It was however renovated and re-occupied prior to today’s attack.

The latest assault follows yesterday’s bloodbath when another group of bandits waylaid policemen and military officers at different locations in Anambra and inflicted heavy casualties.

The gang reportedly killed  three police officers and set their vehicle ablaze at Neni junction in Anaocha LGA. They were also said to have looted the vehicle before torching it.

Three naval officers were also reportedly shot dead at Awkuzu area in Oyi LGA. The gunmen were said to have made away with their weapons.

The Police appear not to have answers to the incident at this time. The Punch quotes DSP Ikenga as saying that police received the reports and was “working to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incidents.”

He however confirmed that one policeman was killed during the Neni Junction ambush attack.

“We are still working and trailing the news; I hope to get back to you soon, when the details are complete,” he told the Punch correspondent in Awka, the State capital.

Gunmen launch daring raids, attack police and military officers in Anambra State, killing and seizing weapons

COVER PHOTO: (c) THE PUNCH

Bill on appointment of military chiefs sails into stormy waters

A bill for a law that enforces equity in the appointment of military service chiefs ran into stormy waters yesterday in the Senate. If passed, it would create a law that forces presidents to appoint Armed Forces Service Chiefs to reflect federal character.

Ranking Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe (PDP, Abia North), introduced the bold legislation entitled Armed Forces Service Commission Bill.

The bill, Abaribe told his colleagues when it was introduced will reinforce Section 217 (3) of the Constitution which mandates federal character principle in appointments.

President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused of nepotism in the appointment of security chiefs since he assumed office. The accusation also trailed his most recent appointment of service chiefs.

It was not smooth sailing at the debate as passions rose high form both supporters and opposition to the bill.

Supporters argued that the bill is on good constitutional footing and should be passed by the Senate without much ado. Members opposed to it however feared that it would politicize the armed forces and force a “dangerous situation” on the country.

At the end of the impassioned debate, Senate President Ahmad Lawan chose a voice vote to rule on whether to proceed with the bill or have it rested.

“The nays have it,” he ruled.

A dissatisfied Senator Abaribe made one last heroic attempt to salvage the sinking bill. He quoted Order 73 of the Senate rules and asked for a division. He said he was asking for a vote because the section he quoted allows a Senator to challenge the ruling of a presiding officer.

Lawan however refused to budge, saying he did not rule inappropriately, and the ruling was also not his personal opinion.

As other voices rose to ask for a voice vote, the Senate President asked that the house move into a closed-door session.

The bill was effectively drowned when the session resumed. Senate President Lawan simply asked Sen. Abaribe, the Minority Leader, to withdraw the bill and he did.

Abaribe however said he would review the content and re-present it “at a more appropriate time.”

Enugu resumes International Flights

Akanu Ibiam Airport, Enugu resumes international flights from Monday, 3 May 2021, following a Federal Government approval.

Aviation Minister, Sen. Hadi Sirika, announced lifting of the ban at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.

Two other international airports are however to be opened before Enugu, the Minister said. These include Aminu Kano International on 5 April and Port Harcourt International on 15 April.

Sen. Sirika defended government’s extended closure of the airports to shut off potential Covid-19 virus-bearing planes or passengers.

“There were no ulterior motives for not reopening the … other airports. There are processes to be followed,” he said.

“The airports were shut down, like others across the world. We closed our airports as that was where the virus came into the country.

“We reopened some after many considerations with the other stakeholders.”

Kano State’s Governor Ganduje led a team of state officials to plead with the Minister to reopen Aminu Kano International.

Enugu Airport was, however, never formally closed to international traffic at the time that government shut down airports.

Instead, it was shuttered on 24 August 2019 to repair damaged and hazardous runway and fix missing landing equipment.

Sen. Sirika worked hard to secure a N10bn funding for the project and closely supervised rehabilitation works to completion stage.

The airport reopened to local traffic on 30 August 2020 at an impressive ceremony attended by VIPs from the South-East region.

Akanu Ibiam International is the only international flights passenger airport in the region.

Within the period of closure, all Nigerian international passengers relied only on the Lagos and Abuja airports to arrive and exit the country.