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Alleged illegal sealing: Firm drags Ebonyi govt to court, seeks N500m

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Alleged illegal sealing: Firm drags Ebonyi govt to court, seeks N500m


An indigenous quarry firm operating in Ishiagu, Ebonyi, Crushed Rock has dragged the state government to court over alleged “unlawful sealing of its business premises and quarry” for over five months now.

The suit, filed on behalf of the plaintiff’s Company by Mr Mike Ozekhome, SAN, had the Federal Ministry of Mines & Steel Development, the Government of Ebonyi State and the Attorney General of the State, as defendants.

Others defendants are Mr Edwin Onwe, the then Special Assistant to the governor on Solid Minerals and the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development

The firm in a court process obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday stated that it had operated its quarrying business for over 40 years, within the accepted laws of the federal and state governments.

The quarry firm is praying the court, among other demands, for an order mandating Ebonyi government to jointly pay to the Plaintiff, the sum of Five Hundred Million Naira as damages for illegally shutting down its business.

The court processes reveal that the crisis between both parties started in May, 2019, when the state government ordered the firm to re-float the quarry company at Ishiagu, Ivo LGA of Ebonyi, or have the premises sealed up.

The firm is also challenging the state government’s arbitrary increment of the haulage fees and other levies from about N2, 000,000 (two million naira), to N18, 700,000 (eighteen million, seven hundred thousand naira) monthly.

The matter comes up for hearing on July 9, at the Federal High Court Abuja.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

Emmanuel Afonne: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

Revised NDC will impact Nigeria’s climate, economic development, says Environmentalist

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An Environmental Expert, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, says the revision of the nation’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) has the potential to impact Nigeria and Africa’s climate change policy and economic development.


Okereke, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Development (CCCD) at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State, made this known in a statement in Lagos on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NDC are intended reductions in greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

He stated that the ongoing revision of NDC would produce a robust document that could help to drive sustainable green economic development for the country.

According to him, there are several environmental experts that consider Nigeria’s original NDC quite ambitious.

“There is therefore a need to question, in this revision process, whether Nigeria should increase its NDC ambition or not, more so, given the huge socio-economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some might say that Nigeria ought to demonstrate leadership by increasing its ambition.

“Others might say that the priority for the country for now should be on rebooting its economic growth.

“A critical question to ask is to what extent Nigeria has actually implemented the NDC that it pledged in 2015?

“And what are the environmental, social and economic benefits that have accrued to the country as a result.

“It is important to ensure that Nigeria is not simply making commitments it has no intention of achieving simply to please the developed countries that are financially supporting the NDC revision process,” he said.

Okereke stated that some experts asserted that the preparation of the original NDC, which started in late June 2015, was rushed to meet the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) deadlines.

“One implication was that some of the data and analyses on which the NDC was based relied on grey literature and are judged very suspect.

“For example, in the absence of a national emission registry, the emissions from most of the key sectors (energy, transport and forestry) on which the NDC was based were best guess projections,” he said.

The professor added that the previous NDC preparation process had limited public engagement, thus hindered the country from receiving inputs from critical stakeholders like business moguls, parliamentarians and sub-national actors.

“Till date, many of these stakeholders have remained largely unaware of or had limited involvement in the implementation of the NDC.

“Moreover, with limited public awareness of, and engagement with the development of the original NDC, there was not much from the civil society in the way of monitoring the implementation (or lack) of the NDC following its ratification in 2017,” he said.

Okereke recalled that Nigeria was among the 190 countries that submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UNFCCC in the run up to the COP meeting in Paris in 2015.

According to him, Nigeria’s INDC has since been converted into NDC, following the country’s ratification of the Paris Agreement in May, 2017.

Okereke said that in the original NDC, Nigeria committed itself to make 20 per cent “unconditional emission reduction” of its Greenhouse Gas emission by 2030 compared to the 2010 levels.

Okereke noted that Nigeria further committed that it would increase her emission reduction to 45 per cent by 2030 if help was received from the international development partners.

He stated that Nigeria’s NDC was built on the appealing philosophy of pursuing socioeconomic development while reducing carbon pollution.

Okereke added that NDCs are voluntary documents that governments agreed that parties to the UNFCCC would submit to show what each government had committed to do in order to tackle climate change.

He, however, said that though the submission and commitment are voluntary, once a country submitted their NDC, they were expected to keep the commitment or pledge made.

Okereke noted that Nigeria started the process of revising her NDC in March 2020 and would be due to conclude the exercise in November.

He added that the CCCD is implementing a World Resources Institute-funded project geared towards providing independent critical analysis and input into Nigeria’s NDC revision process.

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

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Health

Breastfeeding : Ebonyi Governor’s wife guarantees optimal feeding for survival of children

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The Wife of Ebonyi Governor, Mrs Rachael Umahi has pledged to bridge the gap of breastfeeding in the state for survival of children.


Mrs Umahi made the promise in a statement to newsmen on Monday in Abakaliki, to commemorate the 2020 World Breastfeeding Week with theme: “Support Breastfeeding for a Healthier Planet”.

The governor’s wife expressed sadness that in the state, only four in 10 children benefited from exclusive breastfeeding.

According to her, the situation is similar and sometimes worse in several other states.

“It is no doubt, therefore, that one in four children are stunted and stunting has long life impacts, reflected in both childhood: during learning and adulthood in economical outputs.

“The same condition worsens birth outcomes and persists across generations.

“When malnourished children become adults, they are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases, making populations vulnerable to pandemics, like we are currently faced with.

“I pledge to bridge the gap for the survival of our children, and subsequently, a healthier planet.’’ she said.

She called on mothers, fathers and Local Government Areas (LGA) caretakers to join in the renewed call for appropriate feeding as one pathway to mitigate environmental degradation that started with correct breastfeeding.

“For a healthier state, nation and planet, we need every support to ensure appropriate feeding, from the beginning,’’ she said.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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General news

Taxi drivers withdraw services in Calabar, protest illegal taxation

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Commercial taxi drivers in Calabar on Monday withdrew their services to protest alleged illegal taxation by some thugs and local government officials in the state.


The News Agency of Nigeria , reports that due to the protest a lot of commuters were stranded at bus stops in Calabar while many trekked to their different destinations.

The protesters who carried placards with inscriptions such as “stop harassing us”, “illegal taxation is a crime in Cross River” among others.

 

The protesters alleged that some people were often harassing drivers in the metropolis to pay some taxes and levies against the tax exemption law of the state.

 

Gov. Ben Ayade had constituted the Cross River Anti-Tax Agency to ensure that all low income earners in the state including taxi and tricycles operators were exempted from paying all forms of taxes and levies.

 

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria, the representative of the protesting drivers, Mr Edem Asuquo, said drivers were caught on a daily basis for dropping and picking passengers at different spots in the city.

 

“They take you to their Centres and collect N25,000 or N15,000 from you, which is the least.

 

“So we decided to march to the governor’s office to protest and hear from him directly and know if he is the one sending these people to harass us or not.

 

“This is why we withdrew our services today,” he said.

 

In his response, Bishop Emmah Isong, Chairman, State Anti-Tax Agency, said the protest was good and a welcome development.

 

“The governor exempted these classes of people from taxation and, then, some politicians and local government officials kept taxing them.

 

“We, the Anti-Tax Agency have tried everything to tell the local government authorities not to tax them.

 

“So the people should take their destinies in their hand by protesting for their right, it is good for the state, so long as they are peaceful and do not destroy any property.

 

“They have been using security agencies to harass the drivers, security agencies that refused to cooperate with the Anti-Tax Agency are cooperating with politicians to harass and exploit the poor,” he said.

 

He advised residents of the state to know their tax exemption rights and pursue them vigorously adding that it must not be the job of the Ant-Tax Agency alone.

 

NAN reports that due to the protest, a lot of commuters were stranded at bus stops in Calabar while many trekked to their different destinations.

When contacted on telephone, Nkese Emeyo, the media officer, Calabar South Local Government Area, said that the LGA had nothing to do with the extortion.

“My Chairman placed a revocation notice to all contractors collecting taxes for the LGA. So, there is nothing like tax from our Council.

“We are not getting anything from anybody and we have not sent anybody to get tax from drivers.’’ She said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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COVID-19

COVID-19: Nigeria reports 304 fresh infections; death toll hits 888

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Nigeria reported 304 new confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) as the death toll jumps to 888.


Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) made this known on its official twitter handle on Sunday.

Data from the NCDC  showed that the 304 new cases were spread across 14 states, and the FCT.

The centre noted that five deaths were recorded in the country.

It added that till date, the country recorded 43,841 confirmed cases, 20,308 discharged and 888 deaths in 36 states and the FCT.

It showed that the  304 new cases were reported from 15 states, namely Lagos (81), FCT (39), Abia (31), Kaduna (24), Rivers (23), Plateau (16), Cross River (13), Ebonyi (12), Ondo (12) Ekiti (11), Edo (11), Benue (10), Nasarawa (10), Ogun (6) and Gombe (5).

The health agency noted that a multi-sectoral national Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), activated at Level 3, would continue to coordinate the COVID-19 national response activities across the country.

It  said that if anyone tested positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms, he or she should stay at home and keep away from other people.

The NCDC said that Nigerians risk of  the virus would be higher if they were less  than six feet from people at a crowded public place or if they freely share equipment and not  practice social distancing and other habits to stay healthy.

 

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu (NAN)

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