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Thursday, October 22, 2020

October 22, 2020

US Customs Officials Seizes Ancient Carved Ikom Monolith Exported Using Fake Documents





 Though not currently on display, the British Museum has this medium-sized example of an Ikom monolith with human facial features in its department for Africa, Oceana and the Americas. Bought at auction from Sotheby’s, the piece was collected in Nigeria in the 1930s. “Nearly 300 similar figures carved from naturally occurring boulders have been recorded in the area north of Ikom on the Cross River,” according to the museum’s description. “They stand in villages, many of which are now deserted, within an area of less than 400 square miles inhabited by six small Ekoi ethnic groups. Although they were all probably carved between AD1600-AD1900, it is not yet possible to date them more accurately.”


(AFP)

The United States customs officials in Miami on Tuesday said they seized ancient carved stones from Cameroon known as Ikom monoliths that had been exported to the United States using fake documents.


Experts believe the stone sculptures were made sometime between 200 and 1,000 AD, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.


According to UNESCO the carvings “bear a form of writing and a complex system of codified information .. each stone, like the human finger print, is unique from every other stone in its design and execution.”


The Ikom monoliths come from the area round the town of Ikom, in the state of Cross River in southern Nigeria bordering with Cameroon.


Customs officials did not say how many stone carvings they had seized, but did say that they will be “repatriated” to Cameroon.


“CBP has a critical role in protecting cultural property and preventing illicit trafficking,” said Robert Del Toro, CBP’s Acting Port Director at Miami International Airport.


He described it as “just the latest example” of CBP teams working federal agents “to enforce international repatriation laws of ancient artifacts.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

October 21, 2020

GRAPHIC: Two Suspected Armed Robbers Lynched In Calabar

 


Two suspected armed robbers were yesterday,  October 20, caught and lynched by angry mob at the junction linking Ikot Effa with Parliamentary Extension,  Calabar, Cross River State.



Witnesses said that the armed robbers, who were four in number,  had attempted to burgle a home at Parliamentary Extension but luck ran out on them as two of them were caught while two escaped.



Confirming the incident, the state Police Command Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo, said “I am aware of the incident. It is a case of robbery. They were caught. We condemn jungle justice. No arrest has been made yet."

October 21, 2020

We're Fixing Calabar Potholes Soon, We Don't Owe Salaries & Pensions - Ayade



Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has assured residents of Calabar  metropolis that his administration will soon begin the process of asphalt overlay and fixing of potholes in the metropolis.


The governor gave the assurance in a statewide broadcast on Tuesday, in reaction to the #EndSARS protests and other protests such as the one against bad roads by youths in Yala Local Government Area of the state.


Governor said since the inception of his administration, the well-being of youths has remained a key priority, calling  on young people to avoid any act that could bring them on the way of harm edpecially at this time that the Federal Government has deployed anti-riot policemen in our cities.


Full Text:

Great Cross Riverians, I want to salute the courage of our young people who joined their compatriots across the nation to protest against police brutality and bad government in Nigeria.


As you are aware, my administration has over the years made the well-being of our young people a key priority.


Indeed, not only do we have the youngest political appointee in the country, who is just over 16 years old, our state executive council is the youngest in the country.


I value the life of every Cross Riverian. I am therefore, appealing to our young people to avoid any act that could bring them on the way of harm now that the Federal Government has deployed anti-riot policemen in our cities.


You have through your sustained protests, made your points. We have heard you loud and clear.


All the issues you have raised are noted and I hereby, make the following commitments:


1. We will proceed with the process of asphalt overlay and fixing of potholes within Calabar metropolis. We must however, allow the rains to subside to give us a dry sub-surface to make for a better and more lasting job.


2. We will find additional means to create more jobs for our young people. I would like you to note that in spite of being the least federal allocation earning state, we do not owe salaries. We also do not owe pensions. Our lean resources not withstanding, we will strive to commence the payment of gratuity as soon as possible.


3. The focus of our administration has been on industrializing the state with a view to creating job opportunities for our people. We have established several industries including the ultra-modern rice mill, Ogoja, Cocoa Processing Factory, Ikom, Calabar Pharmaceutical Factory, Calabar Noodles Factory, Frozen Chicken Factory, Calabar Garment Factory, Rice Seedling Factory, Toothpick Factory, Piles and Pylon Factory, all of which have been completed. The factories will soon commence operations, thus providing more job opportunities for our people, including our young people.


4. We are doing more than it is in public domain to confront the security challenges in Calabar. We have deployed a special security team from Abuja and so far, the team is doing a good job, arresting between 15 to 20 suspected kidnappers on daily basis. 99.9 percent of suspects are non-indigenes of the state. So I commend our people for their non-involvement in this crime of stealing human beings.


5. The dualisation of the Tinapa-Odukpani Highway with the spaghetti flyover and an interchange bridge will be completed this coming dry season.


6. Asphalting of the dual carriage road in northern part of the state will get to the Bekwarra axis of the road by the end of the month. The Okpoma, Mfom part of the road will be completed by the first quarter of 2021.


7. Boki East-West road and the North Ukelle road which the World Bank reckoned was beyond the capacity of the state, will be completed by the first quarter of 2021.


8. The construction of the 275km superhighway and the Bakassi Deep Seaport was set back by three years when the Federal Government took our state to court. It took a special presidential intervention by President Muhammadu Buhari for work to commence. We have since attained appreciable milestones.


Please note that our state does not just earn the least allocation from the federation account, it can also not borrow because it had attained the threshold of borrowing even before the advent of our administration. So please be fair when analyzing the achievements of our administration. It is always easier to see what government has failed to do while conveniently turning a blind eye to what it has achieved.


We have given appointments to over six thousand of our people, most of them youths, employed over five thousand into the civil service, including the 2500 workers recently reabsorbed into the payroll, after lifting an over 20-year old embargo placed on employment.


The power of the people is supreme. Your voices have been heard and we will not sleep until your demands are met. Please do not confront the security agents deployed to keep the peace. Let us remain peaceful, for that is what we are known for.


Please note that government will not abdicate its responsibility of protecting lives and property. Everything within the ambit of law, will be done to uphold this sacred duty.


I advise parents to keep their children away from misguided elements who might want to recruit them to cause violence in the state. 


Thank you


Sir Ben Ayade

Governor, Cross River State

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

FG To Seek For $11bn Loan To Construct Lagos-Calabar Rail Line — Minister

By Dirisu Yakubu

 Minister of  Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, said, yesterday, that the Federal Government was set to apply for a $11billion  loan to construct Lagos to Calabar rail.



Amaechi made the disclosur y during an interactive session with the South-East and South-South Professionals of Nigeria, SESSPN, in Lagos.


The group had taken advantage of the Minister’s presence in Lagos to hold talks with him on challenges facing the regions, particularly in the areas of security, power, social integration and representation in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.


Amaechi on why railway work was yet to commence in the South-East, said, “I hate tribalism. I’ve said this before. For me, I’m a Nigerian, and what informs my decision of choosing which rail line to construct at any point in time, is the economics of rail; and currently,  the economics shows that Lagos to Kano has the capacity to move 30 million tonnes of cargo per year.



“I did same analysis for Port Harcourt to Maiduguri rail line and it’s 11 million tonnes. We are currently doing the analysis for Lagos to Calabar to know how many tonnes of cargo can be moved there per year. So, we started with the Lagos to Kano rail line. President Olusegun Obasanjo approved it, President Jonathan started construction on it by doing Abuja to Kaduna and President Buhari told us to complete all previous projects.


“Now, we are applying for $11billion loan to construct Lagos to Calabar rail. There was no design for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri. We knew that the first thing to do was to commence a feasibility study, after that, we’ll do the design. It’s now they’ll start to do the site drawing. In the next three months, they will be doing that, you’ll start shouting again: why are they not constructing? You forget that Ibadan to Kano, they are just finishing the design now, that’s why they’ve not started construction.



“The President told us that all rail lines in Nigeria must be standard gauge. So, we did a standard gauge design for the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line. We went to Bonny to do the study and we did that study up to Maiduguri. I did a feasibility study that brought it between $14 billion to $11 billion.


“When we finished, we got approval from the President, but I realised that we may not get the money in this government. I changed my course, and I said, while we are looking for money for the standard gauge for Port Harcourt-Maiduguri, let me ask for money to reconstruct the narrow-gauge at $3.1 billion. And the President after much argument, accepted. After sometime, he agreed, that we can proceed with the narrow-gauge, while seeking money to construct the standard gauge”.



“At least, I’m sure that before we leave government, we would have done up to 80 per cent of that rail line. Also, there was no line to Owerri, I added Owerri to the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail design, because of the Industrial Park and the University of Transportation in Ubima,” Amaechi added.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

October 18, 2020

Again, Governor Ayade Rejects Justice Ikpeme, Set To Swear-In Justice Ita As Acting CJ

Despite calls by most Cross Riverians and Nigerians for Governor Ben Ayade to swear in Justice Akon Ikpeme as the substantive Chief Judge of Cross River State, arrangements have been concluded to swear in Justice Eyo Effiom Ita as the acting Chief Judge of the state, GRASSROOT REPORTERS reports


For about three months now, the office of Chief Judge had remained vacant following the expiration of the tenure of Justice Maurice Eneji, who was twice appointed as the acting Chief Judge.


Justice Eneji, who is alleged to be the preferred choice of Governor Ayade is the second most senior judge in the state, after Justice Ikpeme, whom the NJC had recommended to be sworn in as substantive CJ but was twice rejected by the state House of Assembly for being a non-indigene, hence, a security risk. 

Justice Ita is the third most senior judge. He will be sworn in tomorrow, October 19, 2020 at the Executive Council Chambers of the Governor's Office, Calabar.


In a press release on Sunday, the Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the governor, Christian Ita said: 


"In the exercise of his powers under section 271 (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), His Excellency, Professor Ben Ayade will Monday, October 19th, 2020, swear-in a new  acting Chief Judge of the state.".


The release which did not reveal the name of the judge to be sworn-in, noted that: "this follows the recommendation of the National Judicial Council (NJC).".



October 18, 2020

GRAPHIC: Three Suspected Kidnappers Beheaded, Burnt By Angry Mob In Cross River


 Three suspected kidnappers were on Saturday morning beheaded and burnt alive by angry mob in Ikot Effio Okon Etim, Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.

A gory video from the scene of the incident  circulating online, shows the remains of the suspected kidnappers and a motorcycle in flames. 


GRASSROOT REPORTERS gathered that the 5-man gang were ambushed by youths of the community, apprehending three while two managed to escape. The five kidnappers were later beheaded and burnt.

Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Irene Ugbo in a Press Release titled Jungle Justice and its implications condemned the action of youths of the area.

The statement read, “The attention of the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State Command, has been drawn to the incessant mob action meted on criminal element across the state.

“It’s on the above, the Commissioner wishes to state unequivocally that no single person or group of persons has the right to maim or take the life of another person irrespective of the offence committed” the statement added.

“Consequently, the ugly incident which occurred early hours of Saturday, 17th October at Akpabuyo local government area where three suspected criminals were allegedly set ablaze is barbaric and strongly condemned.

“By this announcement, the Command warns members of the public to always weigh their actions in line with laws of the land. He added that perpetrators, when apprehended, will face the law” the DSP Ugbo stated.

October 18, 2020

#EndSARS: Protest Unnecessary, We Have Met All Demands - Lai


By Temidayo Akunsiyi

 Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Saturday said the ongoing #EndSARS protests by youths across  the country is unnecessary as the Federal Government has met the demands and has even done more than what was asked.


He also said the Federal government can't go higher than what it has done in meeting the demands of the protesting youths.

While speaking on the attack on Osun state governor, Gboyega Oyetola by hoodlums, he  said  latest developments in the country  has shown that the ongoing #EndSARS protests has been completely hijacked by 'dark forces'.

The Minister spoke on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) news programme, Weekend File monitored by Daily Independent.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari will not abdicate his responsibilities, number one of which is the protection of lives and property.

He said "If the purpose of this protest is to meet your demands and that demands has been met and made public, and government has been giving marching orders, for crying out loud, if you are sincere from the word go, why don't you give the government a chance?  We can't go higher than what we have done". 

"The meeting of NEC comprise all governors of the country, presided over by the Vice-President. A communiqué was read out and we have started the implementation.  We've asked all state governors to set up Victims Support Fund; all state governors, not only are you going to have a judicial panel of enquiry, but the composition must comprise of youths, students and CSOs".  

"We went further to say that they should set up a  Special Security and Human Rights committee In each states with students, youths and CSOs as members. And we are saying that the new Police Special Tactical unit will overseen by this panel which comprises of CSOs and youths. I don't  think we can bend beyond that".


October 18, 2020

Friends And Associates To Celebrate Sen. Otu On His Birthday



A thanksgiving service to mark the birthday of Sen. Prince Otu is set to hold in Calabar.


The event which is put together by friends and associates of the former senator who represented  Cross River south in the red Chamber will be held at the Voice of God Mission at 10 Mayne Avenue Street in Calabar. 


A statement by the planning committee chairman and secretary, Charles Atu and Ekpenyong Alina said the event is put together to thank God for the life of the senator and to continue to celebrate the ideals and legacies of a man who distinguished himself as a senator and in service to humanity. It said there will be a party at the Zoo Garden Hotel along Mary Slessor road Calabar. 


It enjoined all lover of the former federal lawmaker to turn out as well as send congratulatory messages to the Senator.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

October 17, 2020

AirForce To Deploy Super Helicopter To Secure South South, Commissons Accommodation For Its Personnel In Calabar


 The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) is set to deploy additional Super Puma Helicopter to Calabar to secure the southern axis of the Nigerian airspace and complement air operations in the South-South Geopolitical Zone. This was made known today, 15 October 2020, by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, while commissioning a furnished block of 30 x one-bedroom transit accommodation for airmen at the 305 Special Mobility Group (305 SMG), Calabar.



The CAS, who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Headquarters NAF, Air Vice Marshal (AVM) Oladayo Amao, disclosed that the 305 SMG Calabar was established to survey and secure the southern axis of the Nigerian airspace, continuing from the point where the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the 115 Special Operations Group Port Harcourt terminates. He remarked that the NAF Headquarters was doing its best to make at least one more Super Puma helicopter operational, which would ensure that there is an aircraft domiciled in Calabar for necessary air operations. This, he said, was to make up for the Unit’s existing Super Puma helicopter which is currently deployed for operations in the North East. He assured that, in the interim, 115 SOG Port Harcourt would continue to extend air support to Calabar with its platforms, as done a few months ago when an EC-135 helicopter from Port Harcourt was deployed to Calabar to support the Nigerian Navy during Operation SAFETY CHECK.



Speaking further, the CAS disclosed that, as part of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Deep Blue Sea Project, aimed at comprehensively addressing insecurity and criminality in Nigeria’s territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), special mission aircraft, being acquired by the Federal Government, would operate from Lagos, Benin, Calabar and Port Harcourt, amongst other locations. He noted that this would undoubtedly enhance maritime domain awareness thereby improving security in the South-South axis. “All these efforts are geared towards ensuring that Nigerians go about their business in a safe and secure environment”, he said. He therefore charged the personnel to always maintain the highest level of vigilance and security within their AOR.



The CAS also used the opportunity to express his profound appreciation to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, for his continued support in providing platforms and equipment required by the NAF to achieve its objectives and perform its statutory roles. “We will continue to show our appreciation by remaining disciplined and loyal while exhibiting the highest level of professionalism." He also commended the Cross River State Government for its support to security agencies in their efforts to rid the State of all forms of criminality.



While appreciating the CAS for continuously according high priority to the welfare of personnel, the Commander 305 SMG, Group Captain Abraham Sule, reaffirmed the Unit's dedication to the accomplishment of assigned tasks and promised to continuously achieve desired results in their daily operations. He further appreciated the CAS for his relentless commitment to the provision of infrastructure for the optimal performance and comfort of NAF Personnel.

Also present at the event were the Air Officer Commanding Mobility Command, AVM Ibukun Ojeyemi, as well as other senior military officers and heads of paramilitary and security agencies in Calabar.


Monday, October 12, 2020

October 12, 2020

Maritime Giants, Antwerp Port International Takes Over Bakassi Deep Seaport


 

The dream of actualizing the Bakassi Deep Seaport project is gradually becoming a reality with the announcement of its takeover by maritime giant, Antwerp Ports International of Belgium. 


Breaking the news of the takeover during a boat ride to the site of the deep seaport with the representatives and port Director, of Antwerp Ports International, Mr. Stefan Cassimon, Governor Ayade said the essence of the visit was to do a recconaissance as well as a required survey of the location, suitability and adaptability of the port.


He said the tour will strengthen commitment to the partnership with the Port of Antwerp International and the Cross River State Government to either take the investment from public placement strategy or direct investment by investors.


The governor expressed delight that such a well celebrated name in the maritime Industry has decided to get involved with the Bakassi Deep Seaport project.


The deep seaport is one of the on- going legacy projects of governor Ben Ayade of Cross River state.  


Ayade had earlier received the Belgian Ambassador, Daniel Betrand, who led the team on a courtesy call on him at the Executive Council Chamber, Calabar.


Speaking shortly after visiting the project site, Ayade said: “We are here on the Calabar River emptying into the Bakassi Deep Seaport with a team of technical directors and experts from the Port of Antwerp International."


Lauding Antwerp Port International's interest in the Bakassi deep seaport, Ayade said “Nigeria will have a lot to benefit from this port as this will be the first cargo industrial port as approved by the Federal Ministry of Transportation.”


He reiterated the imperativeness of the Bakassi Deep seaport which is to create a short cut between the mouth of the Atlantic ocean and northern Nigeria with the view to exporting solid minerals that abound in that part of the country.


"The future is Africa and that future starts today, that is why Cross River is smart enough to digitally partner with the Port of Antwerp international for the development of the Bakassi Deep Seaport to take Atlantic Ocean closer to northern Nigeria to allow for the full exploitation of the iron ore deposits and all the solid mineral deposits for the wealth and prosperity of Nigeria," he said.


In his remarks, Ambassador Bertrand said the team was in Calabar to "to discuss further on the wonderful project in Bakassi and to ensure that the project, that is the Deep Sea port, will be a success as soon as possible."


The Belgium Ambassador disclosed that "Cross River is of interest to Belgium because you are close to the sea where you have so many potentials and endowed with very industrious population. So, I think that a lot is possible here for you and for us."


He assured of his country's firm commitment to the project saying: "We are also here to ensure that Belgium contributes actively in this wonderful project."


Sunday, October 11, 2020

October 11, 2020

BREAKING: Governor Akeredolu Of The APC Wins Ondo Governornship Election


 



The incumbent governor of Ondo State,  Rotimi Akeredolu has won the Ondo governorship election held on Saturday.

Akeredolu who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), won in 15 of the state’s 18 local government areas, based on the results announced by the electoral commission, INEC, at its headquarters in Abuja.

His challenger, Eyitayo Jegede, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won in the remaining three local governments.


October 11, 2020

BREAKING NEWS: After Massive Nationwide Protests, IGP Disbands SARS



After massive nationwide protests over the activities of a notorious police unit, Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and calls for the unit to scrapped, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammadu Ibrahim has now disbanded the unit with immediate effect.

IGP Ibrahim made the announcement this afternoon in a broadcast.

He said the dissolution affects all SARS in all the 36 State Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

He added that all officers serving in unit will be redeployed to other Commands, Units and Formations, assuring that arrangement will be made to set up a new unit that would tackle armed robbery and sundry crimes.

Details later...

Friday, October 9, 2020

October 09, 2020

Court Jails Two Music Producers, Two Others over Cyber Crimes in Calabar


The Uyo zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Thursday, October 8, 2020 secured the conviction of two music producers and two others, on cyber crime charges, before Justice Simon Amobeda of the Federal High Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River state.


The convicted music producers are Obot John Aniedi and Odok Valentine Metun, while the others are Williams Peter Obinna and Okoro Edwin Chigozie.


While Obot and Odok were arrested on September 11, 2020 at their residentce located at 3 Ring Road, Shelter Afrique, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Williams and Okoro were nabbed on September 8, 2020, at their apartment located at "Sight and Services" within "World Bank" in Ugwuma town, Owerri, Imo State.


The quartet was arrested based on intelligence received in the zone, concerning their involvement in various cyber crimes. Investigation reveals that while some of them set up various fictitious accounts on Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), an Asian-American dating website, others impersonated American military personnel , to defraud their victims. They all admitted to the crimes.


One of the separate count charge for which they were convicted reads: "That you Okoro Edwin Chigozie (aka Afando Stevens) on or about the 8th day of September, 2020 in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to obtain property and gain advantage for yourself, did fraudulently impersonate and presented yourself to Eloisa Vasquez as Afando Stevens (a supposed American military officer) on social media platform (Facebook) and obtained the sum of One hundred and fifty American Dollars ($150) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 22 (3) (a) & (b) of the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 22 (b) (iv) of the same Act".


They pleaded guilty to the charges preferred against them by the EFCC.


In view of their pleas, Joshua Abolarin, counsel to the EFCC, informed the court of the plea bargain agreements entered between them and the prosecution, and urged the court to convict and sentence them accordingly.


Counsel to the defendants, Innocent Eze, Arit Robert, C. O. Ijom and Friday Solomon informed the court that the convicts were first-time offenders and prayed for leniency.


Delivering judgement, Justice Amobeda convicted and sentenced them as follows; Okoro, Odok and Obot were sentenced to 3 months imprisonment each with an option of fine of N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira), while Williams was sentenced to 6months imprisonment with an option of fine of N200,000 ( two hundred thousand naira).


He ordered that their mobile phones and laptops be forfeited to the Federal Government.

 

October 09, 2020

We'll No Longer Tolerate Any Attack On Our Men - IGP Sends Warning To EndSars Protesters



The Inspector General of Police, M. A. Adamu has reacted to the death of a police officer, Corporal Etaga Stanley, attached to the 'A' Division, Ughelli, Delta, who was allegedly killed by the #EndSars protesters on Thursday, August 8th, GRASSROOT REPORTERS reports


The IGP, who described the incident as "cruel and unwarranted", warned that henceforth, the Police authority will not tolerate any attack on its personnel or any member of the law enforcement community by any person under any guise.


The police alleged that one Seargent Patrick Okuone sustained serious gunshot injury allegedly fired by the protesters. It also claimed that the protesters carted away an AK47 service rifle with 25 rounds of ammunition.


While condoling with the family and friends of the deceased officer, the IGP commended the officers of the Delta Police Command for "exercising restraint in the face of immoral and unjustified provocation".


He However ordered investigation into the matter.

October 09, 2020

We Are Investigating Some Politicians In Cross River For High Profile Corruption - EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is investigation some high profile cases involving some politicians and ranking officials Cross River State government.


The EFCC, Uyo Zonal Head, Edeh Uchenna, made the disclosure in Calabar, Cross River State, adding that “we cannot disclose their names for now in order not to hamper the ongoing investigations”


Uchenna who was flanked by other officials from the zonal office of the commission was at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Calabar to solicit media support for their work by way of constant volunteering of useful information.


He said although the EFCC receives fewer petitions from Cross River, the agency is, however, working behind the scene, making arrests and prosecutions.


Reeling out the achievements of the commisson in the zone, Uchenna said the commission has convicted 18 cybercriminals at the Federal High Court Calabar, forfeited hefty proceeds from the crimes and also recovered several exotic cars.


He solicited the support of journalists to volunteer information about financial crimes and assured that of confidentiality of such information, saying it was the only avenue to get back at corrupt persons and politicians.


“Our values have dwindled. No nation attains greatness with corruption permeating all facets of its fabric. Everything possible must be done to eradicate the virus. We want a partnership with the media to ensure the misnomer doesn’t become the order of the day. Without collaborative efforts, the fight won’t be effective,” he said.

 

Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 08, 2020

I've Been Diagnosed Of Bipolar Disorder- Actress, Chacha Eke


Nollywood actress, Chacha Eke has said that she has been diagnosed of bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that causes mood swings.


The condition which can be managed but incurable was formerly called manic depression. It causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).


Chacha Eke also stated that she didn't quit her marriage because of domestic violence, contrary to claims in some quarters.


In a video she posted on her Instagram page, the beautiful actress said her husband has never laid his hands on her, nor raised his voice at her.


She said she is currently receiving treatment at First Delta American Hospital, Asaba, after undergoing mental examinations.

 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October 07, 2020

WTO: Okonjo-Iweala Set To Win As She Makes Final List Of 2

 

'Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea's Yoo Myung-hee are through to the final round of selection to become the next director-general of the World Trade Organization, three sources said on Wednesday. The reduction of the field from five to two means, if confirmed, that the 25-year-old, Geneva-based trade body would be led by a woman for the first time.


Okonjo-Iweala, 66, a former Nigerian finance and foreign minister Okonjo-Iweala, is an economist and development specialist now serving as board chair of global vaccine alliance Gavi. She has said the WTO should play a role in helping poorer countries access COVID-19 drugs and vaccines. If she wins, she'll become the first African to lead the organization. Yoo, 53, South Korea's trade minister, is pitching herself as an experienced operator on trade in challenging times after clinching deals with the United States, China and others, while supporting global rules.


Both received backing from the 27 countries of the European Union this week. The other countries of the 164-member WTO have generally not revealed which names they put forward in the second round that ran from Sept. 24 to Oct. 6. Kenyan sports minister Amina Mohamed, Saudi royal court adviser Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri and British ex-international trade minister Liam Fox also competed in the second selection round. The first round featured eight candidates.


The WTO is looking for a new director-general to replace Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, who stepped down a year earlier than expected at the end of August. It aims to find a successor by early November. The winning candidate will face formidable challenges with rising global tensions and protectionism during a COVID-induced slowdown, most obviously between China and President Donald Trump's U.S. administration, as well as pressure to drive reforms.

October 07, 2020

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Presents First Witness Against Adeherself

 

                         Adeherself

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, October 7, 2020, presented its first prosecution witness, PW1, Samuel Orie, a Compliance Officer with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc against a self-acclaimed social media influencer, Rukayat Adedamola Adewale, aka 


Adeherself, who was re-arraigned today for alleged internet fraud before Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja.


Adewale, 20, is being prosecuted on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy to obtain by false pretence, attempt to obtain by false pretence and retention of proceeds of a criminal conduct.

October 07, 2020

OpEd: Politics In My Country BY EZINWANNE ONWUKA


The verity of the saying, “if you want to steal without being arrested, become a politician” is incontestable in our dear country, Nigeria.


Politics is rightly defined as a dynamic process whereby human and other human resources are managed, directed after due mobilization to ensure the enforcement of public policy and decision in the bid to regulate social order but in the Nigerian context, it is the art of diverting public funds for personal use while enjoying special immunity that places you above the law.


Over the years, politics in Nigeria has become associated with embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds, bribery and corruption. You cannot be a politician in Nigeria without being fantastically corrupt!

When counting the problems of Nigeria, I count bad leadership twice. Bad leadership is the reason the giant of Africa has remained crippled after sixty (60) years of independence. Nigerian politicians see public offices as an avenue for self-aggrandizement and fattening of their bank accounts. This explains the reason they defect from one political party to another when their political interest is no longer guaranteed in the present political party. This is why indiscriminate party defection have become the hall mark of Nigerian politics.


In Nigeria, people go into politics and contest for elections into public offices for the sole purpose of siphoning the nation’s resources and looting the nation’s treasury. However, this selfish and greedy motive is hidden before the elections. During the political party’s campaign, they would make many promises that would portray them as the saviour of the people. The story changes once the mantle of leadership falls on them. The promise to fight corruption is forgotten and corruption gains momentum right under their nose. Misappropriation and embezzlement of funds becomes the order of the day. Policies that would favour their ethnic and religious groups to the detriment of other groups are enacted. They surround themselves with fellow thieves as ministers and advisers who would assist them to tactically divert funds to their personal accounts. Nigerian politicians are a cabal of criminals whose sole aim is to loot the nation’s treasury and they have been doing this wonderfully well.


It is ironic that the ones saddled with the responsibility of maximizing our welfare are the ones subjecting us to penury. Instead of representing the collective interest, they champion their personal and selfish interests. P.O.C Umeh rightly called them “Ambassadors of poverty”.


It is funny how Nigerian leaders frown at and commit themselves to fighting crime without realizing that the various crime being perpetrated by the younger generation reveals a failure of leadership. The youths steal because those at the helm of affairs steal. Corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society because the leaders are fantastically corrupt. Honesty is gradually going into extinction because those in authority are liars, deceitful and stifle the truth. In other words, the vices of the followers mirror the vices of the leaders. Thus, the frightening crime rate in Nigeria is only a symptom of the criminality of the Nigerian ruling class.


It is disheartening that our leaders are bereft of ideas on how to curtail the insecurity, curb the threats of secession, resolve the issue of epileptic power supply and improve the health and educational sector in the country but they are second to none in rigging elections to favour their political party, mobilizing thugs to fight their political foes and stealing from the nation’s treasury.


Politics in my country is an opportunity to get access to the vast resources of the nation and the art of mismanaging the resources, appropriating it for personal use thereby leaving the masses in squalor, penury and impoverished.  


Politicians in my country are patriots in reverse order, having their head abroad and anus at home. They are merchants of loot who loot our treasury. They are barons of incompetence, position occupants and enemies of service. They are corrupt masters of the economy whose sole aim is to siphon the nation’s resources. They are kleptomaniacs who embezzle and steal public funds with impunity. They are office loafers who occupy positions they do not deserve. They contribute to the political, economic and social malaise of the nation by their greed, selfishness and ineptitude.


Ezinwanne Onwuka writes from Cross River state, Nigeria. She is a Corp Member serving in Cross River state. She writes informative, creative and research-driven contents on topics about life, politics, religion and more. You can reach her on [email protected] and +2348164505628


 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

October 06, 2020

I'll Be The Best Nigerian President Ever If Youths Support Me The Way They Support BBNaija - Yul


Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie says if he gets the kind of support Nigerian youths give to reality TV show, Big Brother Naija (BBNAija), he will be the next Nigerian president and the best ever.


Mr. Edochie who was reacting to a comment by one of his Twitter followers with a username, @agbator65, urging him to contest for the office of the President, said he will unite the country & appoint credible men and women to work with irrespective of tribe or religion.


The Twitter user wrote:

@agbator65

"Pls we need you as the next Nigerian president. U have been so out spoken about the ills and shit that's happening in this country... The country needs people like u. Other parts of the world, old men don't rule as president.. only Africa I see 90yr old men still crave for power.


Replying, the veteran actor wrote:

"If Nigerian youths will realise the power they have & support me the way they support BBNaija housemates I'll surely become Nigeria's next President & best President ever.

I'll unite this country & appoint credible men & women to work with irrespective of tribe or religion."


Yul had previously contested for the office of governor in Anambra, scoring just 145 votes. In 2018, he released a video announcing his intention to run for the office of the President in 2019 Presidential election but later withdrew from the race.


The 2020 edition of the show saw Laycon emerging winner. The organisers of the show announced that 900 million votes were recorded during the show, its highest ever.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

October 04, 2020

#EndSARS Campaign Is A Coordinated Attack By Cyber Criminals, It's Not The First Time - Presidency

                    Lauretta Onochie
 

The presidency has reacted to the current campaign to end the activities of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Grassroot Reporters reports.

An aide to President Muhammadu Buhari on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, reacting to the renewed campaign, said the campaign is "coordinated attack by cyber criminals" who are joined by unsuspecting citizens.

She said that this not the first time such attack is being launched on government institution, calling on Nigerians to stand by institutions while working on its effectiveness.




She wrote on her Twitter handle:

"I have no doubt that there are some staff of SARS who are unprofessional in their dealings with the public, same way we have unprofessionalism in the Army, Mainstream Police, Customs, Civil Service, Public Service, traders, lawyers, doctors, journalists, teachers, pastors etc.

" But what is going on now, is a COORDINATED ATTACK BY CYBER CRIMINALS joined by UNSUSPECTING INNOCENT CITIZENS.

"This not the first time. We must stand by our national institutions while working to improve their effectiveness. That's what patriotism is about. NO SENTIMENTS." She said.


Meanwhile, Nigerian celebrities have taken to their social media handles to register their displeasure over the activities of SARS, calling for an immediate disbandment of the group.

With the hashtag #EndSARSNow, they tweeted:





October 04, 2020

Victor Osimhen To Miss Algeria, Tunisia Friendly Ties, To Be Replaced By Onuachu


 Napoli striking sensation, Victor Osimhen will miss Nigeria's two friendly matches against Algeria and Tunisia billed to hold on October 9 and 13 respectively, Grassroot Reporters reports.


The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) made the announcement on its verified Twitter handle on Sunday.


Osimhen will be replaced by Genk FC of Belgium striker, Paul Onuachu. Onuachu has so far impressed at club levels, netting 7 goals in 6 starts for the club in the current season. But the big striker has for far failed to impress in the colours of Nigeria Super Eagles. Apart from a solitary goal he scored against the Pharaohs of Egypt in a friendly match, the big striker failed to score any goal in the 2019 African Nations Cup, drawing heavy criticisms from Nigerian football lovers.

The NFF said: "@victorosimhen has been excused from @NGSuperEagles games against Algeria and Tunisia. His replacement is Paul Onuachu".


Although the reason for Osimhen absence was not stated by the NFF, this may not be unconnected with the outbreak of Coronavirus.


Recall that 22 Genoa players tested positive to the virus, following the loss to Napoli last week Sunday. Although Osimhen has not tested positive to the Virus, he has undergone a test with the rest of his teammates and the coaching staff.


Napoli were banned by local authorities from travelling to Turin for the match against Juventus on health concerns after 2 players from the Turin Club tested positive to the virus, although Juventus had insisted on going on with the match.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

October 01, 2020

Communique Issued By NACRISS Worldwide To Resolve The Lingering Leadership Crisis In The Association


                                   29th September, 2020

COMMINIQUE  BY NACRISS WORLDWIDE


Arising from a meeting held on the 29th of September, 2020 between the supposed Emmanuel Orok led factional executive members and the Awatt Eso led factional executives, we agreed to forge a common front for the interest of every student of Cross River State Origin.

We regret the fact that NACRISS-WW has been factionalised for one whole year and still counting without any tangible achievement recorded by both factions throughout the period of crisis. Hence,there is a need for a peaceful resolution in order to give way for a smooth transition to guide against further polarization and factionalization in our enviable association which has served has a leadership academy overtime. 

The supposed Emmanuel Orok led factional executive took this decision to form a unity executive with Comr. Awatt Eso faction due to the fact that Emmanuel Orok has refused to listen to good counsel which has made him to take decisions which are not in tandem with the constituition of NACRISS-WW.

Comr. Emmanuel Orok has been running the affairs of NACRISS-WW like his personal estate and has meddled into secular politics meanwhile NACRISS-WW is apolitical. The association is supposed to be politically neutral, he did all what he did without consulting any of his supposed executive member.

The height of it all was when his factional executive members only heard and saw on social media that he had called for a dissolution and single handedly constituted an illegal electoral board without the knowledge of any of his executive member and without calling for a congress which he never convened throughout the one year he paraded as a factional NACRISS-WW president.

These, is coupled with the resolution of the council of worldwide presidents wherein a vote of no confidence was passed on the personality of Emmanuel Orok and a letter addressed to the Special Assistant to the Governor on Students Affairs  by the Leadership of the Council, and in the light of the foregoing a meeting was held between the Awatt Eso led faction and Emmanuel Orok led factional executive members. 

The following resolutions were reached in order to give peace a chance for the betterment of the association, to avert crisis and put to an end to the issues of factions in NACRISS-WW that has lingered for too long.
RESOLUTIONS
That this unity executive will be headed by Comr. Awatt Eso with the following as members:
i.   comr. Catherine Odey-Agba  -  Vice President
ii.  Comr. Egwu Daniel  -  Secretary
iii. Comr. Brenda   -  Asst. Secretary
iv. Comr.Ojong Ekup-Nse   -  Financial Secretary
v. Comr.Ferdinand Ogon  -  Dir. of Sports 
vi. Comr. Macfoy Emmanuel  -  Dir.of Information
vii. Comr. Francis  Odey  -  Director of Socials
viii. Comr Fred Ntaji  -  Auditor
ix. Comr. Charles Etta  -  Provost

That this unity Government serve for a period not exceeding two weeks.
Within the stipulated period of two weeks, the unity government shall call for an enlarge congress of nacrites and stakeholders to come up with a proper dissolution and formation of an electoral body that will be generally accepted and fair to all concerned.
Members of the Unity Government have agreed to bury every personal interest that will hinder a smooth transition.


The Electoral board so constituted shall act in line with the constitutionally stipulated period of 90 days to conduct a free, fair and credible election that will not lead to factions.
Within the period of 90 days, any unity executive member who has any programme that will impact positively on the lives of Nacrites can execute such progammes by liasing with the sole administrator and the transitional president

CONCLUSION

The public is hereby informed that these steps are taken without any iota of bias or sentiments but for the interest of the association which is gradually dying as a result of external interference.

We do this in good conscience knowing that whoever has the interest of the association at heart will support this process that will lead to a peaceful transition devoid of any influence. 


Cc: Special Assistant to the Governor on Students Affairs

Cc: Permanent Secretary, Office of the State Security Adviser 

October 01, 2020

Iran Unveils Ballistic Missile That Could Destroy US Bases


Iran has unveiled its latest naval ballistic missile which doubles its military strike range and is capable of destroying US bases in the Gulf.

State-backed Press TV published a video on wednesday showing the third generation Zolfaqar-e Basir rocket.

According to the report, the weapon can travel 434 miles - which more than doubles the country's current missile range.

The US, which has accused Iran of exporting terrorism across the Middle East, has a number of military bases in the region including in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Kuwait and the UAE.

And because the Persian Gulf is up to 210 miles wide, the new Iranian rocket could destroy targets from anywhere in the area.

Commander Major General Hossein Salami, head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the weapon was developed despite the crippling economic sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump.


He said: "The war underway today is one of willpower.

"The Iranian nation continues down this path with conviction by clearly recognising its way forward."

He said Iran was fully prepared for war with the Unites States adding Tehran had used the sanctions as "an opportunity for expeditious advancement in the defensive areas."

The second generation of the surface-to-surface Zolfaqar-e Basir was used to attack US troops at Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, it has been reported.

That assault was retaliation for the killing of Major General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike ordered by Trump outside Baghdad airport.

The assassination of Soleimani in January drastically ramped up tensions between the US and Iran and led to Tehran pulling out the Obama-era nuclear deal it had signed with western powers.





 The Sun UK

October 01, 2020

C'River 2,500 Delisted Workers: They Were Employed Without My Knowledge But They'll Be Re-absorbed - Ayade


The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade says the 2,500 workers delisted from the state payroll were employed without his knowledge.


Prof. Ayade who addressed the workers yesterday at the U. J. Esuene Stadium however said the workers will be reabsorbed after the ongoing verification exercise.


He clarified that his decision to re-absorb the embattled workers was on compassionate ground and not because the state is buoyant enough to accommodate them.


He said:
 "Yesterday I addressed some workers who were delisted from the payroll at the U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.


"Their employment was without my knowledge, as the civil service commission did the employment without recourse to me.


"Immediately I took office in 2015, I lifted the embargo on employment into the Cross River civil service and employed 2,500 teachers instantly.


"When I came in, staff in the Cross River State Water Board had not been paid for a very long time, because they were ad-hoc staff. I decided to convert them to permanent staff, made them civil servants, payrolled them and paid their backlog.


Continuing, the governor said:

"As a State Governor, you suddenly discovered an additional 2,500 staff on your payroll that you did not authorize, that you did not know about, nobody consulted you, what will you do?


" If I was vindictive, I would have since sacked officials who smuggled the names into the payroll.


"I asked the delisted workers to submit themselves to verification for regularization. I have decided to get them reabsorbed into the service out of compassion. I am doing so on compassionate ground and not because the state is buoyant enough to accommodate them.


"I earn an income that is less than the salary of this state. We are reabsorbing them because we are humans, we still have conscience."

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

Cross River State Government Presents Official Vehicles To Council Chairmen and Vice Chairmen

 


The Cross River State Government has presented official vehicles to Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the 18 local government councils.


Recall that the state government had, via a letter, ordered the council bosses to remit over N67.7 million each, to a dedicated account for the procurement of the vehicles.


The presentation of the vehicles  was done on behalf of the Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade by the Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, flanked by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Hon. Stella Oreme-Odey Ekpo, and Chief of Staff, Hon. Martin's Orim.


©Grassroot Reporters

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September 29, 2020

Ayade: South South must speak Up On Bakassi, Decries Neglect


Cross River State governor, Sir Ben Ayade has implored the people of South south geographical zone to come together and speak with one voice on the injustices of the ceding of the Bakassi Peninsular and the attendant suffering its inhabitants are facing.


He rued that the region lays the golden egg yet suffers unspeakable deprivation in the Nigeria project.


The Cross River state governor spoke in Calabar while receiving his Edo state counterpart, Godwin Obaseki to his office.


The Edo state governor was in Calabar in continuation of his thank you visit to South south governors who rallied behind him during the electioneering campaigns leading to the  September 19, 2020 Edo governorship election.


His victory now makes the South south a wholly a PDP- controlled region.


Ayade said "the South South is in crisis. We are the greatest generators of the revenue of this country , yet you cannot come from Uyo to Calabar by road. You have to fly because within that 45 minutes  journey you will have to do it for four or more hours. We must tackle such fundamental issues.


"Our carnival is suffering because people cannot come in. Our seaport is suffering because it cannot be dredged. We cannot as a region sit back and watch this happen.


“Perhaps your visit will give us a great opportunity to bring to the fore, one of the greatest challenges of our state, as a people. We watch our brothers, our sisters, our sons and daughters of the Bakassi extraction being driven out of their ancestral homes, reduced to want in body, in spirit and in soul.


“ We watch with melancholy, anger and pain as they sleep in subhuman living conditions. As a country, we have a budget for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), we see how IDPs in other regions are properly funded by international organizations, yet the case of Bakassi IDPs is different.”


He said what is most painful is the fact that the ceding of the peninsula was an act of illegality, and therefore, called on the geo-political zone to collectively rise up in condemnation of it.


“The ceding of Bakassi was totally illegal because there was no ratification by the National Assembly, there was no plebiscite which is totally inconsistent with the provisions of International Law. I believe that it is time for the south south to come as a bloc to speak strongly for the people of Bakassi.”


He congratulated Obaseki on his victory, describing it as victory for Edo people.


Speaking earlier, governor Obaseki thanked Ayade for standing behind him during the campaigns, noting that Edo and Cross River share historical ties.


The governor pledged to work towards the revival of the South south regional body, known as the BRACED Commission, which is an acronym for the six states in the zone.


He bemoan the utter neglect of the South south, saying it was in the best interest of Nigeria that infrastructures in the region are fixed.

 

September 29, 2020

Disturbing Photos: Man Allegedly Murder Wife Over Infidelity, Commits Suicide In Cross River


A middle-aged man identified as Okon aka Bone Man has killed his wife on suspicion of infidelity on the part of his wife.

GRASSROOT REPORTERS gathered that the incident took place in the early hours of Sunday, September 27, 2020 at Bashua community in Boki Local Government Area of Cross River. Indigenes of the community were shocked over the incident.

Mr. Okon, who is said to be an indigene of Akwa Ibom State, committed suicide shortly after allegedly killing his wife. His lifeless body was discovered dangling in a bush in the community.

The lifeless body of his wife, who was apparently stabbed multiple times, was also discovered in their one room apartment, with

A Facebook User, Martmercy Busaosowo, who shared photos of the incident on her timeline, said:

"This the is the stupid man from Akwa Ibom that killed his wife and ended up like this. He hugged (Sic) himself to death".






September 29, 2020

GE Completes Rehabilitation Of Three Gas Turbines At Calabar & Sapele Power Plants



American company, General Electric (GE) has reported the successful rehabilitation of three 9E.03 gas turbines, at three Niger Delta Power Holding Co.’s (NDPHC) power plants in Calabar and Sapele, south south Nigeria.

GE said these operations reduced the risk of unplanned downtime, enabling the plants to reliably secure and restore the supply of up to 360 MW of electricity to the national grid, the equivalent electricity needed to power approximately two million Nigerian homes. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, GE and NDPHC worked together to swiftly implement safety procedures to ensure a safe and on-time execution.

“Being Nigeria’s largest electricity generating company, with a total installed capacity of 4 GW, representing about 35% of Nigeria’s generating capacity, we are committed to strengthening Nigeria’s power sector, despite the unexpected logistical challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Chiedu Ugbo, managing director, NDPHC. “GE’s efficiency to mobilize local teams on-site with the required technical skills and expertise, as well as GE’s global supply chain scale was crucial to ensure the timely and safe completion of the outages at the sites and help us achieve our goal.”

The outages involved stage three bucket changeouts on three 9E gas turbines as well as additional combustion inspections. Engineers from GE and FieldCore, the field services execution company owned by GE, worked together and in close collaboration with NDPHC to implement additional safety measures and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19, including frequent disinfections at the site, physical distancing, standard passive and active temperature screenings for personnel, and the use of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves.

“We are committed to supporting power plant operators like NDPHC to be able to provide reliable power with exceptional support and services from GE throughout these uncertain times, while ensuring and maintaining the health and safety of our employees and suppliers,” said Elisee Sezan, CEO for GE’s Gas Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The successful rehabilitation of the power generations assets at Calabar and Sapele plants will help increase the 9E gas turbines’ efficiency, while lowering emissions and providing essential power for industrialization, healthcare facilities, homes, schools and businesses.”

Monday, September 28, 2020

September 28, 2020

Ex BBNaija Winner, Mercy Eke Set To Celebrate 27th Birthday, Drops Sexy Photo



Winner of the 2019 edition of Big Brother Naija, Mercy Eke is set to celebrate her 27th birthday in grand style.


The actress, video vixen and entrepreneur from Imo State, set the tone for tomorrow's celebration by dropping a jaw dropping sexy photo on her social media handle.

The photo which has got her fans talking on social media. 

See post:
She became the first woman to win the reality show when she won in October 2019.