Contact: +2347033996028 Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper: News

Grassroot Reporters | Nigeria's No. 1 Online Newspaper

Nigeria's No. 1 News Portal


Showing posts with label News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

April 13, 2021

15 Headless Bodies Discovered On Outskirt Of Calabar


By Emma Una (Vanguard)

Fifteen beheaded bodies were on Tuesday morning found dumped at five Miles area on the outskirt of Calabar.

The dead bodies comprising both males and females were dumped in steep valley along the double carriageway under construction by Governor  Ben Ayade.

The identity of the bodies is not yet known and those who might have dumped them there.

The gory spectacle was discovered by farmers this early morning.

A crowd gathered at about 11.00 am to observe the gory sight while a horde of flies fluttered around the decapitated bodies.

“Some persons may have brought these corpses and dumped here in a vehicle last night”. Alex a commercial driver who parked to observe the spectacle observed.

He said the people may have been killed in Calabar and taken to the  lonely area

 ” I wonder why police and security agents who mount roadblocks along this road could not intercept them because the odour that can emanate from such bodies can be very strong “

Ms Irene Ugbo the Cross River Police Command spokesman did not pick calls on her GSM line.

Monday, April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

UCTH: Stakeholders Throws Weight Behind Board, Commends Hospital Board For Transforming Hospital

 By Obio Monday

The Board and Management of the University of Calabar Hospital (UCTH) has been commended for transforming the once comatose hospital to a force to be reckoned with in heath care delivery.

It is worthy of note that the hospital before the coming of the present board and management has been a ghost of its former self with dilapidated structures, poor sanitation, lack of electricity and water supply, poor services.

Commending the Chair of the UCTH board for changing the narrative, the group chided a 'phantom' group for resorting to the primitive tactics of sponsoring baseless publications meant to discredit the present Board and Management of the hospital.

A statement signed by Chief Antigha Abasi and Comr. Bassey Effiom, President and Secretary respectively, dated April 8, 2021, listed some of the achievements of the current management to include the overhaul of facilities in the O & G Department, constant power supply, efficient and effective water system that guarantees supply and availability of potable water, amongst others.

It said: "The successes recorded by the current management within two years in office stand in stark contrast to the maladministration of the immediate past rulership.  The reason for such tremendous achievements is not far-fetched.  It can be attributable to the inalienable commitment of the Board and Management to the development of the hospital".

The statement added that it shall "resist whatever act of mischief designed to derail this progressive course of taking the hospital to unprecedented glory and greatness".

Read full statement:


When one witnesses any rare form of development in the public sector, it is only natural that one should acknowledge it and also encourage.  This is not only so that such strides be made permanent and sustainable, but to also ginger other public office holders to emulate such exemplary acts and thrive towards matching the standard.  It is such recognition of genuine developmental efforts that has compelled us to venture into this unusual expository article on the current dispensation of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH).

Within a decade (2011-2021), it is the last two years (April 2019 – April, 2021) of administration, ably led by the versatile Chief Medical Director (CMD), Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme that has injected a breathe of fresh air into a hospital that had been laid comatose for eight years (2011-2019).  Those were eight painful years of the ravaging locusts, caterpillar and cankerworms; years the UCTH was held at the jugular by interests whose sole ambition and pursuit was to plunder the hospital and satiate their unbridled greed for material accumulation.  Projects and programmes that would have been beneficial to the hospital were scandalously ignored and misconceived as impossible to even initiate; items supplied as “brand new” almost always had queries concerning the true state of their “newness”.  The 515KVA generator and other items in Radiology Department come easily to mind.

Not surprisingly, the goliaths of that devilish, non-performing era, having found it difficult to comprehend the glittering performance of this god-fearing David within just two years, had become discomfitured, threatened and envious.  Hence, they have resorted to the primitive tactics of sponsoring baseless publications meant to discredit the present Board and Management of the hospital.

We believe that such publications are baseless, spurious and inconsequential, and therefore undeserving of any serious attention as they are meant to create distractions.  Moreso because the authors, who claim to be staff of the hospital, are fake.  None of their names could be sighted in the staff nominal role.  As the maxim goes: “Nemo dat quod non habet” (you can’t put something on nothing and expect it to stand).  A publication by a phantom group of persons must be treated for what it is: falsehood, lies.

The successes recorded by the current management within two years in office stand in stark contrast to the maladministration of the immediate past rulership.  The reason for such tremendous achievements is not far-fetched.  It can be attributable to the inalienable commitment of the Board and Management to the development of the hospital.  The Chairman of the Board, Col. Abdul Muhammadu (Rtd), as a highly reputed solider who rendered diligent service to the nation and meritoriously retired, has proven his mettle as a gentleman of impeacable integrity by ensuring harmonious relationship between the Board and Management for the overall benefit of the hospital.  Likewise the CMD, Dr. Ikpeme, a seasoned professional, who has brought to bear his administrative astuteness in the day to day running of the establishment.  Little wonder that the hospital has in the last two years progressed at various levels by geometrical pace. In confirmation, we will attempt to capture below a few verifyable interventions made by the current administration that has led to the rising profile of the hospital.

1. Obstetrics and Gynaecology: The current Dr. Ikpeme - led Management, apparently enjoying strong support from the Board, undertook and successfully accomplished the overhaul of facilities in the O& G Department.  The labour ward was tastefully renovated.  A New Triage room was constructed while the Theatre, Antenatal & Gynaecology clinics complex were fully and beautifully renovated.  The icing on the cake for the Department of O&G was the installation of new laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery equipment.  We consider it a tragic irony that the immediate past CMD, a Gynaecologist, could not record any of these achievements for the department even after long eight years in office.  It took an orthopaedic surgeon to rehabilitate this department and upgrade same to international standard.

2. Power: Black-out stands largely banished from critical units of the hospital.  With constant power supply, affairs of the hospital ensue unhindered round the clock in critical life-saving units.

3. Water: The era of lack of water in the hospital is gone.  There is now an efficient and effective water system that guarantees supply and availability of potable water.

4. Environmental Sanitation: UCTH no longer smells.  Drainages are regularly desilted and evacuated.  The lawns are now trimmed and green, so attractive that visitors are commonly sighted using them as background scenery for selfies and photographic moments.  Erosion control projects are also on-going.

5. Dental Clinic: The department has undergone total renovation, coupled with the installation and commissioning of five brand new state of the art Dental Chairs.

6. Radiology Dept.: Similarly, this department has undergone total renovation culminating in the installation of 2 brand new 4-D ultrasound scanners, full digital direct radiography x-ray machine and a new 32 slice CT Scanner. The environmental upgrade that houses these facilities are topnotch.

7. Isolation Centre/ICU: In line with the leadership’s avowed commitment to contain COVID-19 pandemic in the state, a new 30 bed modern isolation centre is being constructed alongside a new 10-bed level 3 ICU.

8. Medical microbiology laboratory: The Medical Microbiology Laboratory has been completely renovated and upgraded to serve as the only anti-microbial resistance reference (AMR) laboratory in South-South Nigeria.

9. Orthopaedic ward: The female orthopaedic ward has been completely renovated and functioning effectively.

10. Staff Welfare: The present leadership has continued to demonstrate unprecedented passion for staff welfare and development.  Staff are sponsored for further trainings relevant to their respective careers and promotion implemented for deserving ones.  Payments of various emoluments are usually managed transparently once funds are released.  It must be said that it is as a result of such show of significant commitment to workers that the UCTH has experienced relative industrial peace for two years now with no local strike nor threat of strike.  Every strike action in the last 2 years had been called nationally.

11. Staff Discipline and Efficiency: While the current leadership has remained passionately committed to staff welfare and promotion, we commend their demonstrable objectivity in the management of issues of discipline and efficiency in service directed at enhancing productivity.  Not only does Management lead by example, but are also firm on decisions made in the best interest of the establishment.  This was recently typified in the Works and Engineering Department where an eminently qualified contract staff was appointed Head of Department (HOD) deservedly.  Expectedly, the appointment drew disaffection from disgruntled quarters on the bases that there is a bonafide senior staff who is “qualified” to head the Department.  However, that argument fell flat on its face when addressed.  The said officer, in the strict sense of the word, is not “qualified” to head the department.  Records, originated and well documented by the previous administration, reveal that he had been twice queried and warned for acts of Misconduct and Truancy.  A warning is taken seriously in the Public Services. Surely, a staff like that whose continued stay in service is by God’s mercy cannot be entrusted with the responsible office of HOD. Besides, the contract staff, although the law allows a relatively short time for such appointment, is a respectable character and his wealth of experience constitutes a dependable source of knowledge the junior ones in the Department shall continue to understudy, benefit from and subsequently apply for the good of the hospital.

12. Okoyong Health Centre:  The Health Centre, Okoyong, has been renovated and modernized thereby leading to increasing patronage of the centre by indigenes of the community and beyond.

13. Completion of Abandoned Projects: Projects which were initiated in 2012/2013 and wickedly abandoned by the immediate past administration have been re-commenced.  So far, the current leadership has re-commenced work on the 56 suit laboratory to Radiology link road and secured visitors car park.  We believe the abandoned 56-Suite House Officers Quarters will soon come on stream.

14. Health Records & Revenue Management: There has been introduction and deployment of electronic Health Records, Information and Revenue Management system which have engendered efficiency and blocked leakages in the system.

15. ENT Nursing: The school of post Base ENT nursing has been renovated and working towards re-securing accreditation.  One the only such school in Southern Nigeria.  It was abandoned by the immediate past administration.

16. Other Interventions: There are other areas of positive intervention including the beautiful streetlight project, the Ward Lightings, renovation of the mortuary, etc.  Concerning academics, many Departments that had lost accreditation to train our people for the benefit of our society have had their accreditation fully restored within the last 2 years.  Other Departments who never had accreditation now have successfully gained accreditation.  We can continue to count. 

If, within a short span of two (2) years the current administration of the UCTH has successfully executed all these valuable and verifiable projects, non of which could be accomplished in 8 long years of the previous administration, it stands to reason that the present administration deserves our passionate and unconditional support. We are hereby giving such support willingly as staff and stakeholders.

We, therefore, wish to particularly counsel the past leadership and their racketeering contractor to desist from their sponsorship of ever failing plots of mischief, calumny and pull-him-down.  They should learn from the divine wisdom that “who God blesses, no man can curse”. Rather, they should join hands with the dynamic leadership of the current Board and Management in their undeterred march to elevate UCTH to greatness.

Going by records available to us, we make bold to say that the UCTH has never had it so good from inception.  We are all living witnesses to a revolution in growth and development sweeping through all facets of the hospital.  As staff and stakeholders, we support the current leadership whole-heartedly, with all our power and all our might.  Accordingly, we shall resist whatever act of mischief designed to derail this progressive course of taking the hospital to unprecedented glory and greatness.

We thank God for blessing our beloved UCTH with a thoroughbred leadership – a diligent and disciplined Board Chairman on one hand, with the support of progressive minded Board members, and an astute and visionary CMD on the other hand, ably supported by loyal and disciplined Management Staff.  Together, they have ensured decorum and tranquility in the hospital, thus all hands are on deck and all eyes focused on growth and development.  

Friday, April 9, 2021

April 09, 2021



A 15years retrospective view of the Bakassi local government would have the area placed on the exalted seat of Nigeria's bread winner, being that she produced one of the best crude in the world market and possessed other untapped potentials.

Consequent to the ceding of her peninsula and the relative ravin of  her oil wells to Akwa Abasi Ibom state, Nigeria suddenly lost sense of her glory and relegated her to the Abyss of perdition as against the plethora of supposed protective articles the Annan's Greentree agreement provided for the Bakassi indigenes.

In the face of this omnibus descend from the sublime to the ridiculous,  Bakassi and her people, displaced and refugees as they now are, have become a fruitful ground for political shenanigans and wealth drilling for the Nigerian politicians.

Woe upon Woe has been the plight of the Bakassi people to least mention the place of children in this saga; being born and nursed in shambles, disarray and homelessness; becoming victims of circumstances they contributed nothing to set off. Theirs is worse than slavery, for even slaves are cared for by their masters.

Studentship in Bakassi local government can be best described as "swimming against the tides", no funding, no incentives, no palliative, no relief materials and ultimately no support. One is left to wonder if the federal government means to deter and infact obliterate the ideology of education from Bakassi local government, seeing how incapacitated she is and playing blind to her sufferings and deaf to her wailing.

Let me submit by asking - what expectations have the government of these indigent Bakassi people especially her students in the face of this gross wickedness, Are they to follow the Law? Be patriotic Nigerians? Or seek alternative means of existence?

The answer lies in the conscience of the government and any reader of this article.


Thursday, April 8, 2021

April 08, 2021

In The Next Two Years, Bakassi Deep Sea Port And Super Highway Will Be Working - Ayade


The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade has assured that the Bakassi Deep Seaport and the Super Highway will be working in the next two years.

The governor said this on Thursday during the Industrialisation Rally in support of his administration organized by the 18 local government council chairmen and councillors in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

The Bakassi Deep Seaport and Super Highway which were initiated in Governor Ayade's tenure has witnessed delays in their commencement. The governor has barely two years to complete his second term in office.

He said

“We have found investors for the Bakassi Deep Sea Port and Super Highway and I can assure you that all these will be working in the next two years.

“God does not reward you for the wealth you acquire for yourself and your family but what you provide for others and expect nothing in return.

Prof. Ayade also said that his administration has created opportunities for at least one person from each family to be in government across the state, adding that he would have made sure all indigenes of the state are government payroll if that was possible.

”The Rice seedling factory, garment factory, Calachika, Cocoa Processing Plant, Rice mill are all going to provide thousands of jobs."

Speaking at the rally, the Chairman, Association of Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON), Emmanuel Offiong pledged their total support for Ayade's administration, assuring that the people at the grassroots are ready to swim and sink with the governor in his political voyage.

”We the eighteen council chairmen have come here with one hundred and ninety-six councillors and hundreds of other political office holders in the council to solidarity with the purposeful leadership you have provided and assure you of our continued support.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

April 07, 2021

Middle-aged Man Arrested With Bags Of Assorted Sex Toys In Cross River


The Cross River State Police command  has paraded a middle-aged man, identified as Obinna Benson who was arrested with a bag that containing assorted sex toys, handcuff, substances suspected to be Indian helm and other unidentified items.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Sikiru Akande who paraded the suspects, regretted the action of the man.

He said: "It was an incident that somebody came all the way from Lagos with a bag full of sex toys to lure one of our female students into a hotel room.

" The suspect had substances suspected to be Indian helm, high grade to be used on the girl in the hotel, but luck ran out of him when the management of the hotel got wind of what was happening and called the police that responded quickly.

“We don’t know, and we are still investigating the hazard this suspect would have done to our kids especially during this period, but we are lucky to have been able to have him arrested,” he stated.

According to the Commissioner, another incident has bothered him for sometime now was the activities of the traditional rulers in Calabar South Local Government Area of the State.

“Another thing that is bordering us now is that the elders who are supposed to have helped us are busy engaging in squabbles that are not necessary.

“Traditional issues that are lingering are being brought to the fore, and we have told them in clear terms that anybody that is going to do anything that is going to bring problem to the state, we shall deal decisively with such people.

“Some people have accused the police of shutting down the Etubom’s Council Secretariat. It is not our making, the number of petitions and counter petitions that are coming are over hundred and as responsible people, we will not fold our arms and see such situation degenerating into crisis. Anybody who has an issue, should go to court, ”he advised.

The suspect told newsmen that his girlfriend liked what he was doing and that those items were used by two of them, denying any wrongdoing.

“My name is Obina Benson, I am here as a suspect in assault sexual case, those items; I bought them, my girlfriend likes them and are used by two of us, the items are rechargeable, They don’t last,” he revealed.

April 07, 2021

Video: CallyAir Finally Arrive Nigeria


The long awaited CallyAir, a Boeing 737-300 bombardier aircraft has finally arrived Nigeria, GRASSROOT REPORTERS has gathered.

The aircraft touched down Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, on Tuesday night.

Owned by the Cross River State government, the commercial airline is expected to begin operations in no distant time.

Onboard the airline was the governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade and the airline's crew members.

Cally Air is a proposed Nigerian joint venture to be based at Calabar Airport. The start-up is a joint venture between The Cross River State Government and DANA Group, under a public-private agreement. 

The airline was expected to commence in Nov-2016, with services to Obudu, Lagos and Abuja using the state's Dash 8-200 aircraft.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

April 06, 2021

Lagos, Osun, Cross River & Ogun Debts Exceeded Revenue - Report

By Everest Amaefule (Punch) 

The debts of four states exceeded their net revenues by more than 400 per cent, the Fiscal Responsibility Commission has said. The states are Lagos, Osun, Cross River and Ogun.

The FRC in its report ‘Debt sustainability analysis of state governments’ for 2019 also showed that the debts of all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Administration exceeded 50 per cent of their revenues, contrary to limits set by the Debt Management Office.

The report contained in the 2019 Annual Report of the FRC obtained by our correspondent on Monday said states that had ‘the proportion of Debt-to-Revenue above 50 per cent are assumed to have violated Section F(C) of Debt Management Guidelines, 2012’.

The FRC report said, “The Debt Management Office Revised Guidelines on Public Debt Management, 2012 sets out the rules for public debt assessment in Nigeria.

“Section F(C) of the Guidelines states that the total amount of loans outstanding at any particular time including the proposed loan shall not exceed 50 per cent of the actual revenue of the body concerned, for the preceding 12 months.”

On the debt status of the states, the report said, “It can be deduced that all the 36 states and FCT exceeded the DMO threshold of 50 per cent.

“Lagos State accounted for the highest Debt-to-Total Net Revenue as at the end of 2019, with 712.94 per cent.  Osun State came second with 650.94 per cent Debt-to-Total Net Revenue.  While Cross River and Ogun States were third and fourth with 597.36 per cent and 402.30 per cent respectively.”

The report said the revenue and debt situation of the states, however, were not enough to say that the states had over borrowed since the president of the country has not set the borrowing limits for the subnational governments as required by the FRC Act 2007.

It said, “Nonetheless, this does not lead to the conclusion that such states have over-borrowed, as the overall debt limits of the governments in the federation has not been set.

“It is on record that the overall limits of consolidated debts of federal, states and local governments are yet to be set since the enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, though the commission has continually engaged the Honourable Minister(s) of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the issue.”

In the absence of predetermined limits set for the subnational government, the FRC uses the limit set by the DMO to determine the level of indebtedness of the states.

This rule says that the debts of the states should never be higher than 50 per cent their revenues in the preceding 12 months.

Given the difficulty in determining the Internally Generated Revenues of the states and negligibility of the IGRs for most of the states (except Lagos), the FRC uses revenues collected by the states from the federation account for its calculations.

Thus, Lagos with a public debt of N899,385,238,387.44 and a revenue of N117,883,619,963.71 had a debt to revenue ratio of 762.94 per cent. It therefore exceeded the 50 per cent rule by 712.94 per cent.

For Osun, the public debt stood at N169,784,799,861.33 while the revenue stood at N24,222,272,968.41. This puts the debt to revenue ratio at 700.94 per cent. It therefore exceeded the 50 per cent rule by 650.94 per cent.

Cross River’s debt stood at N235,074,694,644.56 while its revenue stood at N36,312,879,237.96. Its debt to revenue ratio stood at 647.36 per cent and therefore exceeded the 50 per cent rule by 597.36 per cent.

Ogun, on the other hand, had a debt of N175,087,821,320.28 and a revenue of N38,710,634,518.42. Its debt to revenue ratio stood at 452.30 per cent. This means that it exceeded the 50 per cent rule by 402.30 per cent.

States with the least excess debt ratio included Sokoto, Delta and Bayelsa.

Sokoto had a debt profile of N60,035,240,351.37, a revenue profile of N55,476,385,825.95 and a debt to revenue ratio of 108.22 per cent. Its excess was therefore put at 58.22 per cent.

Delta had a debt profile of N254,277,286,064.46, a revenue profile of N219,282,893,930.69  and debt to revenue ratio of 115.96 per cent of 65.96 per cent.

Bayelsa, on the other hand, had a debt profile of N167,343,157,583.65, a revenue profile of N140,129,363,936.73 and a debt to revenue ratio of 119.42 per cent. It therefore exceeded the 50 per cent rule by 69.42 per cent.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotosho, promised to respond to an enquiry from our correspondent on the debt status of the state. He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

Also, efforts to get Osun state government to respond to enquiries by our correspondent failed as Dr Tunde Adejumo, the DG, Osun Debt Management Office, could not be reached on his mobile line.

Also, a text message sent to him had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.

Monday, April 5, 2021

April 05, 2021

Ayade To Give FG Agency N100 Million To Generate Electricity From Borehole


To demonstrate the commitment of his state to partner the National Agency for Science and Engineering  Infrastructure (NASENI), Cross River State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade has announced a whopping one hundred million naira as research grant to the agency for the generation of electricity from borehole.

The research into how to generate electricity from borehole is to be jointly undertaken by the agency and the state owned University of Cross River State (UNICROSS).

The governor spoke at the State Executive Council Chamber in Calabar while playing host to a team of NASENI officials led by its Executive Vice Chairman,  Professor Muhammed Sani Haruna.

Ayade said the time has come for the agency to develop a wholistic framework to launch Nigeria into the global engineering map.

According to him, "NASENI is an agency that is responsible for the science and engineering infrastructure. We must begin to truly develop engineering infrastructure in this country. It is a shame that as a country we still import spare parts, it is a shame that you have to take a man from a temperate climate who does not have sun, who is always in the cold to come and tell us how to use our sunlight. 

“What a shame that you have crude oil under your earth, yet it takes somebody who comes from a country that does not have oil to tell you how to dig it out, more shameful that you do not even know how to use it. You have to send it out.”

The governor urged the agency to set up an office in Calabar, pledging a vehicle and an office space.

He challenged the NASENI to bring to bear its true essence because "Cross River State is ready to collaborate with you and I am making available, once you establish your agency here in Cross River, one brand new pickup, and an immediate office for you to move to and make available a land for you to build a permanent office.”

"We are providing in collaboration with University of Cross River, the sum of N100 million for the development and generation of electricity from borehole. I want to also challenge you that from this same N100 million, you should generate electricity for CalasVegas from the Calabar River. 

“This is going to be our (Cross River State) patent because the research is being financed by us in collaboration with NASENI.  So together we will hold the baton to be able to ensure that every single home has electricity from simply just taking water from the ground, using that water to move a turbine and the turbine generates electricity and the electricity pumps back the water from the borehole and recirculate", Ayade stressed.

He commended Prof Haruna’s brilliance after listening to his presentation and promised to be a strong advocate for the proper funding of the agency by the Federal Government.

“I am with NASENI on the realization of one percent allocation of the federal revenue to the Agency in order for it to perform optimally,“ he said.

"Everywhere I go in Nigeria especially amongst my colleague governors, I will act as ambassador for NASENI henceforth",  added.

Earlier in his address, Professor Haruna extolled Ayade's sterling administrative and academic qualities saying he was surprised, when as PhD student  at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya, the students were advised to make reference to his 1994 PhD citation.

While pledging that NASENI will collaborate with the Cross River government in its Industrialisation drive, Professor Haruna pleaded with the governor to market the agency to his colleagues.

"Your Excellency be our ambassador, convince your colleagues that what we are doing in NASENI is very important to them.

“We commend you for the massive agricultural and infrastructural investment in Cross River State. You are turning things around, we offer to collaborate with you because it is within our mandate to collaborate with states. Most importantly we are willing to work with the private sector in the state to establish manufacturing concerns that are technology oriented and will generate local employment" the NASENI boss said.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

April 04, 2021

Those Without NIN May Be Imprisoned For 14 Years - FG


By Terhemba Daka

The Federal Government, yesterday, warned that Nigerians without the National Identification Numbers (NINs) risk jail terms of between seven and 14 years in addition to being deprived of social services.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who spoke yesterday in Abuja, put the number of compliant subscribers at over 150 million, adding that the enrollment figure was 51 million as at March 31, 2021.

He clarified that Muhammadu Buhari had no plan to lift the ban on registration of new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) anytime soon, citing security concerns.

The minister explained that when security issues are being addressed, the economy takes back stage, pointing out that previous efforts compromised the system.

He maintained that while obtaining a SIM card may be optional, NIN was mandatory, quoting Section 27 of the NIMC Act of 2007.

Pantami stressed that it was a criminal offence to carry out business activities in Nigeria without first acquiring the special number.

But later yesterday, the minister on his verified twitter handles, said he was quoted out of context, saying: “Pantami has not mentioned 14 years imprisonment. But said NIMC has been 14 years in existence, since 2007. Since the session has been recorded by journalists, it is better to release the video for p(the) ublic to listen to it, please. Best wishes!”

He had said: “The NIMC Act Clause 27 states that you need the NIN for opening of bank accounts, insurance, land transactions, voter’s registration and driver’s licence.

“So, it is an offence to transact any business activity without first having your NIN.”

Disclosing that enrolment centres had doubled and capturing tools tripled, the minister submitted that the NIN would aid accurate determination of the nation’s population.

Pantami stated that the cost of data had halved since last year from N1,200 per gigabyte to less than N500 now.

He, however, blamed some state governors for the high cost of data through high right of way (RoW) charges in the course of installation of cables and related infrastructure by telecommunications firms.

“Some states charge as high as N60,000 per linear metre, whereas it should not ordinarily be more than N145,” the minister pointed out.

Pantami said he had engaged the state chief executives through the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and sought Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s intervention, stating that the industry could offer something more cheaper if the anomalies are addressed.

On the performance of his ministry in 2020, the minister said but for the Information and Communications Techmology (ICT) sector, the most populous black nation would not have exited the recession wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stated that within the period, the industry grew more than 0.9 per cent of the economy, insisting that the development was key to the overall feats achieved by Nigeria economically.

Asked if the NIN registration would be extended for the umpteenth time, the minister noted: “We had a meeting with all stakeholders today (yesterday).

We will make our suggestions to Mr. President and convey our position. If he is satisfied, we will go ahead and make it public.”

April 04, 2021

Ukwa Eburutu People Set To Celebrate Its 28th Cultural Festival, Unveils Theme

By Obio Monday

The theme for 2021 edition of the annual Ukwa Eburutu Festival of Victory has been unveiled by the people of Ukwa Eburutu in Odukpani Local Government Area of Cross River.

The festival which began in 1994, is in commemoration of the return of peace between Ukwa Eburutu people and their neighbours, after many years of communal wars; many of which the people of Ukwa Eburutu came out victorious. The event is also used to honour their fallen heroes and showcase their cultural heritage.

Unveiling the theme tagged 'Fostering Peace and Sustainable Development' at Pyramid Hotel, Calabar, the Chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Engr. Esu Ayara stressed the need for communities, families, individuals to live peacefully with one another.

He said: "When there is no peace, there'll be poverty. The people will be stagnated, development will be hampered. Without peace, even as a family,  you cannot coexist. So when there is peace, you coexist and peacefully, there will be freedom and things will move the way they are suppose to be.

"Peace is calmness, absence of war. Peace brings development".

Giving an insight into the theme, Engr. Ayara said: "This year's theme is a message. We want to make people see the need to live peacefully. When we imbibe, speak, encourage peace, it becomes part of our society and the benefit is enormous".

He added that arrangements are in place by the CPC to ensure strict compliance with the Covid-19 safety protocols, stressing that the use of facemask is compulsory at the event.

The festival will take place on the 12th of April, 2021.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

April 03, 2021

Easter: Cross River Governor Orders Free Distribution Of Chicken

By Obio Monday

The Cross River State Governor Prof. Ben Ayade has directed the state commissioner for Social Welfare and Humanitarian Services to immediately, commence free distribution of chicken to some selected persons in the state for Easter celebration.

The beneficiaries of the governor's gesture, according to a release by the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, include: traditional rulers motherless babies homes, Bakassi internally displaced persons, Cameroonian refugees in the state, displaced persons in Danare 1 & 2 of. Boki Local Government Area.

The state government also announced the sale of chicken from its chicken factory, Calachika, at a flat rate of N2,500 from tomorrow, Sunday April 4 by 10am.


April 03, 2021

Afenifere Spokesman, Yinka Odumakin Is Dead

Late Yinka 


Yinka Odumakin, the spokesman for Yoruba socio-political organisation Afenifere, is dead.

A source disclosed to the Gazette that Mr Odumakin had spent his last two weeks on a ventilator over COVID-19 complications. He was 55.

His younger brother Ademola Odumakin said he took ill a month ago after contracting the deadly virus and was unable to attend their mother’s burial.

Mr Odumakin was notable for his role in the National Democratic Coalition, which opposed the brutal regime of General Sani Abacha after June 12, 1993, elections were annulled.

Mr Odumakin, who was married to another activist Joe Okei-Odumakin, was known for his criticism of the Buhari-led administration. As the spokesman for the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), Mr Odumakin challenged corruption, political favouritism and nepotism under Mr Buhari’s government.

He also warned the government against attempts to crack down on Sunday Igboho and other southern activists against herdsmen violence.

Friday, April 2, 2021

April 02, 2021

Boko Haram Claims Responsibility For Shooting Down NAF Aircraft


A faction of Boko Haram led by Abubakar Shekau on Friday released a video showing how its fighters shot down an alpha jet declared missing by the Nigerian Air Force on Wednesday.

The NAF475 jet went off the radar with two crew members on board on Wednesday, with NAF authorities claiming in a statement on Friday that the plane may have crashed at Abba-Jille in Konduga local government area of Borno State.

The pilots onboard the aircraft are – Flt. Lt. John Abolarinwa and Flt. Lt. Ebiakpo Chapele.

However, the seven minutes and 30 seconds-long video showed the NAF flying low over a battlefield arena with multiple Boko Haram fighters engaging in fierce and uncoordinated firefights.

The jihadists were firing what looked like a heavy machine gun towards the jet.

Shortly thereafter a fireball explosion emerged with the jet heading rapidly towards the ground.

A masked Boko Haram fighter armed with a machine gun was seen standing on the aircraft debris shortly after the incident.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

April 01, 2021

Ayade Has Not Lifted 10pm-6am Curfew, Disregard Rumour - C'River Govt

By Obio Monday

The Cross River State Government has denied lifting the curfew it imposed last year as a result of the violent #EndSARS protest that rocked the state.

Cross River State witnessed unprecedented looting, vandalization and burning of public and private properties. This prompted Governor Ben Ayade to declare a dusk to dawn curfew which was later relaxed to 6am to 10pm.

There have been calls on social media for the over 6 months old curfew to be lifted.

Reacting to a fake press statement circulating online, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Christian Ita, called on members of the public to discountenance the report as it did not emanate from him.

The statement reads: "My attention has been drawn to a press statement purported issued by me announcing the lifting of curfew by His Excellency, the State Governor, Sir Ben Ayade.

"I wish to state categorically that the said statement was not issued by me. It is another handiwork of mischief makers who have gone to the extend of cloning government letterhead in their bid to sow confusion.

"I therefore urge members of the public to please, disregard the statement as the 10pm-6am is still much in force". The statement added.


April 01, 2021

Pay Magistrates Their 19 Months Salary Arrears Within 60 Days - Court Orders Ayade

By Anietie Akpan (Guardian)

The Calabar, Cross River State Division of the National Industrial Court (NIC) has ordered Governor Benedict Ayade to pay magistrates 19 months salary arrears within 60 days.

About 30 magistrates, who had not been paid their two years salaries have been protesting against their unpaid salary arrears, arbitrary removal of their names from the payroll, and others, which led to their sack.

However during the crisis, 13 of the 30 affected magistrates resolved to sue the state government and four others to the Industrial Court of Arbitration in Calabar, and on March 29, 2021, they secured judgment in a suit marked: NICN/CA/46/2019.

The claimants, who are serving magistrates in the Cross River State Judiciary, filed the suit on December 5, 2019, to challenge the whimsical and unceremonious removal of their names from the government payroll.

They were later restored into the payroll in October 2020, but without corresponding payment of accrued arrears.

But in his judgment, Justice M. N. Esowe, granted almost all the reliefs sought by the claimants, including payment of their salary arrears from December 2016 to May 2017 and September 2019 to September 2020, amounting to 19 months.

The court further deprecated Governor Ayade’s removal of the names of civil servants and the claimants from the payroll, saying their employment with statutory flavour was not based on the governor’s wishful thinking.

The court also condemned the defendants for making unauthorised deductions from the claimants’ salaries under the guise of purchasing laptops to improve their efficiency.

The court ordered the defendants to refund all deductions earlier made and a perpetual injunction restraining the defendants, their servants, or privies from making further deductions from the claimants’ salaries under the guise of purchasing computers or other deductions without the consent or authorisation of the claimants.

The court, however, declined to award general and exemplary damages as sought by the claimants and 20 per cent post-judgment interest but instead ordered the defendants to comply with the judgment within 60 days.

Co-counsel to the claimants, James Ibor, congratulated his clients and stated that the judgment was a well-deserved victory.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

Ondo: 30 Cows Die Mysteriously


 By Abdul Babajide

No fewer than 30 cows have mysteriously died in Akungba-Akoko, Akoko South West Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Though the cause of the death of the cows is still unknown, residents of the community have become apprehensive following the discovery of the dead cows.

It was gathered that the incident happened on Monday night at the Ibaka area of the community where the state-owned Adekunle Ajasin University is located.

A similar incident had occurred in the state in 2019 where 36 cows were killed by lightning in Ijare community, Ifedore Local Government Area of the state.

Also, eight cows were killed by lightning in Ikare-Akoko, headquarters of Akoko North East Local Government.

According to an eyewitness in Akungba, Asiwaju Ojumo, the cows were seen falling without any clue as to what was killing them.

Meanwhile, residents of the community have been advised against buying or eating meat from unknown sources for the tie being.

March 30, 2021

Easter: FG Declare Friday, Monday Public Holidays



To mark this year's Easter Celebration, the Federal Government has declared Friday, 2nd and Monday the 5th of April 2021 as public holidays.

Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, announced this on Tuesday, March 30 in a statement signed by the Director (Press & Public Relations) of the Ministry of Interior, Mohammed Manga.

Aregbesola urged Christians to emulate the attributes of forbearance, forgiveness, kindness, humility, love, peace and patience, which were demonstrated by Jesus Christ.

The Minister also assured that no stone will be left unturned in the war against kidnapping, armed banditry and other crimes.

“Security is everybody’s business, I, therefore, encourage all Nigerians and foreigners resident in Nigeria, to display a high level of patriotism at this critical time in the history of our country, to support the efforts of all security agencies in ensuring peace and security of lives and property of the citizenry,” he said

Monday, March 29, 2021

March 29, 2021

NDLEA Intercepts Man With N2bn Worth Of Drugs At Lagos Airport


By Wale Odunsi 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has intercepted illicit drugs worth over N2 billion at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja, Lagos.

The agency arrested three suspected traffickers in connection with the crime, the spokesman, Femi Babafemi said.

He quoted the Commander, NDLEA MMIA command, Ahmadu Garba as saying that one of the suspects, was arrested on Sunday, March 28.

The Nigerian was apprehended during the outward clearance of passengers on Air Maroc.

A 7.1 kg of Methamphetamine, carefully concealed in food spices and packed in a Swiss polo suitcase, was found in his possession of the suspect.

NDLEA put the street value of the drug bound for Spain at N2 billion.

The statement noted that the closure of borders, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, was responsible for the surge in the price of drugs.

“For instance, the price of meth in Australia had increased from $200 to $600 per gramme due to supply cut, hence the desperation by the traffickers and barons alike,’’ Garba said.

The Command also intercepted a suspect at Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) export shed of the airport with 800 grammes of Cannabis Sativa.

Operatives also seized 19.950 kg of green leaves suspected to be khat, concealed in foodstuff bound for Dubai, UAE.

In a follow-up operation, a suspect was also arrested in connection with the seized cannabis.

March 29, 2021

Kidnappers Of Cross River NLC Chair Demand N150M

Comrade Ben Ukpebi


The kidnappers of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Chairman in Cross River State, Comrade Ben Ukpepi have reportedly contacted the family demanding N150m ransom.

According to DailyPost, a source, who preferred anonymity, said that the kidnappers contacted the family on Wednesday making their position known.

Sadly, the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Lawrence Achuta, when contacted via phone on Sunday, said the kidnappers had not contacted the Union.

“There is no contact yet, we are still waiting for them, to my knowledge, they have not contacted the NLC”, he said.

Also, the former Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC) now Secretary of TUC, Comrade Clarkson Otu lamented the non-release of the victim saying, “The emergence of kidnapping is a very worrisome and unfortunate development.

“It does appear that while the security agencies may be gaining some level of success in the city, the suburb like Akpabuyo is ignored Akpabuyo is now a haven for kidnappers, it means the operation Akpakwu has not covered Akpabuyo and kidnappers are there now.

“We thought we were out of it but fear is returning. Kidnapping is a security problem, we intended to go on strike but we have allowed wise counsel to prevail because to push the government under pressure may jeopardise the rescue of our man.

“It will not help, it will create an impression that because the labour leader is abducted, the workers went on strike or down tools, it’s risky and could make the kidnappers say that this is a high profile man and demand more ransom.”

March 29, 2021

280 Cultists Renounce Cultism In Cross River

The ex-cultists

Not fewer than 280 cultists at the weekend in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River State, renounced cultism and embraced peace.

The event, which took place at the Primary School in Bunyia, had a huge turnout of Boki sons and daughters in attendance where over 280 cultists dropped their arms and embraced peace.

In the same vein, the Chairman of Boki Local Government Area, Pastor John Ewa, has launched the "NEW BOKI PROJECT" with a view for cultists in the area to drop their arms and embrace peace.

Some of those present were the DPO of Okundi Police Division, the Commander of Army Battalion Afi, the Head of Civil Defence Corps, the Head of Immigration in Boki, representative of the Police Commissioner, as well as members of the Boki Peace and Reconciliation Committee, including Barr A.B Tase, Mr Joe Tate (both former Chairmen of Boki) as well as Barr. Christie Okoi.

Speaking at the occasion, the Chairman, Hon Pastor Ewa, lamented that Boki had been involved in series of civil unrest, hence the need to promote peaceful co-existence among the youths for the radical development of the area.

He maintained that it was only peace that can guarantee the needed development that Boki yearns for.

According to him, since the communual and cult related clashes began, Boki has lost over 50 youths, a situation he said was worrisome.


He explained that as a result of the quest to find a lasting solution for peace to return to Boki, he had decided to to embark on what he tagged "THE NEW BOKI PROJECT" so as to create other viable alternatives for the youths in Boki to explore their potentials. 

Pastor Ewa admonished the youths to shun cultism, saying that there was no gain in being a cultist.

He advised the youths of Boki to channel their energies toward avenues that would improve their productive life.

He disclosed that arrangements were on ground to use a facility that would enable the youths who are being rehabilitated to undergo some training and even acquire skills in order to be properly reintegrated to the society.

 The Heads of various Security Agencies who spoke at the event, advised the youths to shun cultism and embrace peace so that Boki can achieve the needed development.

Members of the Boki Peace and Reconciliation Committee also spoke on the need for Boki youths to give peace a chance so that the needed developments would be attracted to Boki land. 

Some members of the youth groups who spoke on behalf of others, promised to turn a new leaf and support the administration of Pastor John Ewa’s efforts towards bringing lasting peace and developments to Boki nation.

Highlights of the event was a pledge by the youths who promised to leave cultism and embrace peace and also support "THE NEW BOKI PROJECT".