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Rage of rainstorm in Akwa Ibom

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Residents of Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State are counting their losses after a rainstorm wreaked havoc in the area last week. TONY ANICHEBE reports from Uyo

Rainstorm has destroyed properties in four communities in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Properties destroyed include, roof of the Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government legislative building; network mast and fence at the council secretariat, and about 40 stalls, shops and a borehole at Nung Udoe main market.

Also destroyed were shades at Nung Udoe timber market, electrical poles on Okpob street, Nung Udoe; three classroom blocks at Brotherhood Secondary School, Ikot Ide Akpakpan; private residences in Nung Udoe and Ikot Akpa Etok, Ikot Ide Akpakpan, and mast belonging to Nung Udoe branch of Ecobank.

Two people were injured by falling shades in the market when the raging storm swept through an early evening last week, an eye witness said. Chairman, traders association in Ibesikpo Asutan, Mr Jude Edet, said that 75 traders were dislodged by the disaster.

“We have lost so much to Wednesday’s rain. By our inventory, 75 shops were destroyed. If we want to quantify our loss, it is in millions”. Edet said the incident had caused the affected traders to take their wares to the roadside during the market day.

He said the traders were willing to pay if government constructs a modern market facility for them and appealed to the government to provide aid to the affected traders. The Divisional Crime Officer in the local government, Dorothy Umoh, said the disaster posed a security threat to the local government secretariat.

“The council is not safe. We don’t have enough security. I have directed that some of the security men in the out-station be withdrawn to come and man the council “I have alerted the DPO to ensure that he sends police here on surveillance.

“We call on government to come to the aid of the council. If we leave it to the local government, we won’t get anything done because of paucity of funds”. The chairman, Ibesikpo Asutan Transition Committee, Barr. Ukana Udofia, while inspecting affected facilities at the council and the market, said that the destruction caused by the storm was beyond the capacity of the local government council. “The level of destruction here runs into hundreds of millions. So, it is beyond our capacity.

“Some people have been injured. This is a sad period. It is not just the market, private homes in other communities have been affected. We have never witnessed this in the history of this local government” When reporters visited the scene, the transition chairman and the DCO were already at the council taking stock of facilities destroyed, while affected traders were seen packing debris of the wreckage from their shops.

Others whose shops were not completely damaged were fixing new roofing sheets. Udofia said after taking stock of the number of victims and the quantum of destruction, the council would liaise with state agencies to get aid for the victims. The chairman commiserated with traders and indigenes of the local government affected by the incident.

Udofia said:”We want the state government to come in and build a befitting market”, saying the market needs redesigning to provide adequate drainage. One of the timber dealers whose shade was affected, Usoro Usoro, said 11 shades were affected at the timber market.

Some of the affected traders whose shops were destroyed by the rainstorm Emmanuel Sylvester Ekpo and Mrs. Idongesit Anietie Nyong, called on the government to come to their aid. On Okpob Street, Nung Udoe, electric poles fell by the storm destroyed 12 houses, according to a member of the Nung Udoe village council, Aninakid John Usoro.

He said some victims of the disaster were taking refuge at a church, Christian Fellowship, Okpob, Nung Udoe. At Brotherhood Secondary School, Ikot Ide Akpakpan, where the storm destroyed three classroom blocks, the principal, Mrs Comfort Ime Ekpo, said: “When school resumes in May, there will be no place for the students to stay”. She said one of the classroom blocks destroyed is a PTA project and was roofed last weekend. Ekpo called on the state government to fix the classrooms.

Meanwhile, residents of Okpob in Nung Udoe, Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area have called on the state government to restore electricity to the area. They lamented the prolonged blackout in the area, saying businesses have folded up and some tenants have started moving out of the area. Mr. Aninakid John Usoro said the area has not had electricity since September 2016.

“The last time we had electricity was September 2016. We have written series of letters to the government telling them about our plight and have made effort to get a new transformer”. Usoro said the transformer feeding the area broke down and attempts to get a replacement have not yielded results.

Electric installations, including poles, wires, in the area were further damaged by Wednesday’s evening rainstorm which destroyed many buildings in the community including facilities at the Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government secretariat. Speaking on the damage, Mr. Usoro said 12 electric poles were destroyed in the area by the rainstorm.

He called on government and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company to take urgent steps to remove electric poles and wires that fell on buildings. He said it was time the state government reciprocated the support residents of the area gave the PDP during the last election.

“We all supported the PDP and Mr. Udom Emmanuel during the last election. This is the time for the governor to show us love and reciprocate that support. We are in full support of the Udom Emmanuel’s administration.

We want him to restore electricity to Okpob”, Usoro said. A resident of the area, Mr Okon Etuk, who had part of the roof of his house smashed by one of the falling electric poles, said that the safety of his family was threatened by the disaster. Archibong called on the government to deploy equipment and personnel to the area to save their homes.

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Lagos distributes 12 coconut processing equipment to councils

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Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Coconut Development Authority (LASCODA) has distributed coconut processing equipment to coconut processors in 12 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the state as part of its empowerment programme in the coconut value chain. Special Adviser to the Governor on Food Security, Mr. Okanlawon Sanni who distributed the coconut processing equipment to beneficiaries disclosed that the state had shown commitment in boosting food security in the state, stressing that government had included coconut processors in its agricultural development programme with a view to developing the state’s coconut value chain.

Sanni noted that the 12 units of coconut processing equipment donated to coconut processors in the state included, Stainless two ton per hour coconut greater, 7.5 H.P Electric motor, Industrial burners, Aluminium bowls and spoon amongst others.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr. Oluwatoyin Suarau who also spoke at the event noted that the empowerment program for the coconut processors cut across processors from Badagry, Kosofe, Ori-Ade, Oto Awori, Ibeju- Lekki, Epe, Ojo, Surulere , Ikorodu,Lekki Agege and Alimosho LGAs & LCDAs. While congratulating the beneficiaries, Suarau opined that coconut value chain has a lot of potentials that can be harnessed which can impact positively on the GDP of the country.

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Employee sues CIG motors over alleged termination of appointment

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A former staff of CIG Motors Company Limited, Akeem Adebiyi Adeyemi, has filed a N1.062 million suit before the National Industrial Court (NIC), Lagos Division, against the management of the company over an alleged wrongful termination of appointment. In the suit, reference NICN/LA/35/2018 filed through his lawyers, Olawale Fapohunda, the claimant is seeking a declaration that the purported termination of his employment with the defendant through a letter dated August 31, 2017 based on protest against certain racial comments by the chairperson of the company, Mrs Chen Xuixia is illegal, malicious and wrongful.

The claimant sought the court’s declaration that the defendant breached his right to freedom from discrimination as provided for under Section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Federal law of Nigeria, Cap C23 LFN 2004.

He asked the court to declare that the deliberate refusal of the defendant to remit his pension contribution from April 2017 to August 2017 was unlawful and a violation of the provisions of the Pension Reforms Act 2014 and that the refusal of the defendant to remit the Personal Income Tax monthly deduction made from him to the Lagos State Internal Revenue Service was unlawful and a violation of the provisions of the Personal Income Tax Act Cap P8 LFN 2004.

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Catholic Church rejoins CAN

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Barely five years after the Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria pulled out of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the church has announced its return to the umbrella organisation of Christians in the country. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria(CBCN) had, in a letter dated September 24, 2012, announced its withdrawal from the organisation. Although the letter was not explicit on the reasons for the action, many believed it was due to some disagreements.

The re-union which reportedly took place at the weekend, saw a delegation of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, led by Rev. Fr. (Prof.) Cornelius Omonokhua, attending an expanded two-day National Executive Committee meeting of CAN for the amendment of its constitution. President of CAN, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, expressed delight at the new development, describing it as one of the best things that has happened to CAN in recent times.

In a statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Ayokunle said bringing the Catholic brethren back to the fold was part of his vision for CAN. “I must acknowledge the support and understanding of my brother in Christ, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and his team.”

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