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Defence/Security

Ebonyi records low turnout for constable recruitment, may not get quota

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The spokesperson for the command, DSP Loveth Odah, told  the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Abakaliki that, of 1, 679 shortlisted, only 779 turned out for the screening while 330 made it into the second round of the exercise.

Odah, who described the situation as abysmal, said that in a local government where 60 applicants were shortlisted, only 30 came out for the screening.

The spokesperson told NAN that Ebonyi might not get the quota allocated to it.

According to her, the exercise which began on July 1 came to an end on July 20.

She added that a mop-up exercise had started  and would last from July 21 to July 28 while the examination would hold from Aug. 4 to Aug 8.

Odah said: “The just-concluded first round of the police constable recruitment in the state recorded low turnout of applicants shortlisted for the exercise.

“Out of 1, 679 applicants shortlisted, 779 reported for screening, and out of the 779 so far screened, about 330 applicants have been successfully captured and their names sent to Abuja.

“Some candidates were disqualified for one reason or the other including flat foot, over age, low height and small chest for men.

“Applicants did not turnout as we anticipated, and this is not good for the state because the state is already on the verge of losing its quota.

“We appeal to the shortlisted candidates to avail themselves of the window provided by the mop-up exercise to stop the state from losing the quota allocated to it.

Politics

Enugu lawmaker decries alleged invasion of constituency by Ebonyi communities

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Chinedu Okwu, Member representing Aninri Constituency, in Enugu State House of Assembly has called on the state government to urgently intervene in the alleged invasion and destruction of houses and farmlands by some communities in Ebonyi.

Okwu, who made the call in a petition submitted to the House during plenary in Enugu on Thursday, listed the communities as Uburu, Akaeze and Ishiagu communities in Ebonyi.

He said that land grabbers from the three communities were claiming part of Aninri land, in spite of the obvious boundary features, adding that “they could not render any sustainable account of such claim.

“We complain in tears, about the unwarranted invasion, killing and maiming of our people by the three communities in Ebonyi, Uburu, Akaeze in Ohaozara and Ishiagu in Ivo Local Government Areas respectively, that share common boundary with us.

“Shortly after their kinsman, His Excellency Mr David Umahi, became the governor of Ebonyi, they returned to our land with much more force and a new turn of claim.

“Initially, they were making individual claims of ownership of different parts of our land but now, they claim and act for and on behalf of Ebonyi government.

“They forcefully re-enter with tractors bearing the inscription, Ebonyi Government and destroyed our cassava, yam and rice farms respectively, spanning about 100 hectares and deforested our popular Egu-Nkwo, which over the years used to be the major source of our timber business,” he said.

The lawmaker alleged that Ebonyi government had entered into agreement with a Chinese company for mining activities of the Led and Silicon deposits in the land.

“The company just started getting the revenue and other benefits accruable from the mining, which is supposed to be for Enugu State, and now is being enjoyed by the Ebonyi government.

“Our people are dying in pains, the thought of watching helplessly another state driving us out of our land and taking over by force our source of livelihood, when we also have a state government, is quite unbearable”, Okwu lamented.

Reacting, the Speaker, Ubosi urged the Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, to dialogue with her counterpart in Ebonyi, to resolve the land encroachment issue amicably.

The House thereafter adjourned to June 11 for further legislative activities.


Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

 

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Defence/Security

Unidentified gunmen abduct Chinese expatriates in Ebonyi -Police confirm

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Police Command in Ebonyi have confirmed abduction of two Chinese expatriates working in a mining site in Ihietutu, Ishiagu in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi by unknown gunmen.

The abducted Chinese nationals are employees at Greenfield Metals Nigeria Limited which specialises in lead and zinc mining.

Mrs Loveth Odah, the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) confirmed the abduction in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, on Thursday in Abakaliki.

She said that the victims were allegedly abducted on Wednesday, June 3 at the mining site.

She however, explained that the police were yet to establish the motive behind the abduction, adding that preliminary investigation had commenced.

She said: “We got the information yesterday, a detachment of our tactical team was  despatched to the area with a view to unraveling the true situation and also to rescue the victims.

“The team is yet to return to furnish us with relevant information about the incident.

But, I can confirm to you that we received a distress call from the area yesterday informing the police of an alleged abduction of two Chinese working in a mining site at Ihietutu in Ishiagu community.

“We are waiting for information from our men before we can make informed comments on the motive behind the alleged abduction.

“For now, we cannot say if the abduction was for ransom purposes or not because the abductors are yet to establish contacts with the company.”

She however, urged non Nigerian nationals working in any part of the state to ensure that they move about with armed security guards to prevent attacks and molestations from criminals and possible kidnapping or abduction.

Mr Henry Ahanaotu, the Chairman and Managing Director, Greenfield Metals, told NAN that the hoodlums abducted their victims at mining pit at ‘Ajirija’ mining site 300 meters from the company’s Life-Camp after shooting severally into the air to deter any resistance.

He said that a formal report on the incident had been lodged at the police command in the state, adding that the abductors were yet to establish contact with the company.

“The unidentified persons bearing sophisticated arms stormed our mining pit at Ajirija and shot severally before whisking their victims away.

“We are yet to establish the identity of the abductors or where they came from.

NAN recalls that kidnappers in March invaded the company’s Life-Camp at ‘Ugwuajirija’ and kidnapped two Chinese nationals, who later regained their freedom after an undisclosed amount of money was paid as ransom.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Education

Group petitions Buhari over lopsidedness in siting of educational institutions in Ebonyi 

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The Ebonyi North Elders Consultative Assembly has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the siting of the newly approved Federal College of Education in Isu community in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.

In the petition, the group stated that the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) to site the college in the area defeated the principle of fairness, equity and justice.

It argued that two of the three federal tertiary educational institutions in the state had already been sited in Ebonyi south, hence the district did not deserve to have more.

A copy of the petition dated May 29, was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Wednesday.

It was captioned, “An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria: Petition against the siting of the Federal College of Education (allocated to Ebonyi) at Isu, Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.”

The group appealed to Buhari to prevail on federal ministry of education to rescind its decision and revoke the approval for the siting of the college at Isu.

It demanded that the institution be sited in any area in Ebonyi North Senatorial Distric, comprising Izzi, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi and Abakaliki LGAs, in line with the nation’s Federal Character principle.

The assembly, which comprises leaders of thought from the district, commended the president and the National Assembly for approving the establishment of the college in the state.

It said: “We believe that the selection of Ebonyi, alongside four others, was meant to ensure that states that hitherto had no federal tertiary educational institutions were accommodated in line with federal character principle.

“We are, however, disconcerted to note that FME approved that the college be sited at Isu in Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South.

“This is in contradiction to the principle of fairness, equity and justice, considering the indisputable fact that the district has two of the three federal tertiary institutions in the state, namely Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic and Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.

“The Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike, is located in Ikwo LGA in Ebonyi Central, leaving Ebonyi North without any federal educational tertiary institution.

“Despite far-reaching representations made by various groups, the FME went ahead to approve the siting of the college at Isu community in Ebonyi South, thereby making the district to have three federal educational institutions.”

The group stated that the development could worsen the already skewed distribution of federal tertiary institutions in the state, if not reversed.

According to the group, Ebonyi North may be the only senatorial district in Nigeria without a federal tertiary educational institution.

The petition was signed by 15 members of the assembly, including Prof. Richard Idike, former Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Sen. Chris Nwankwo, Sen. Sylvester Ngele, Rt. Rev Monday Nkwoegu, the Bishop of Abakaliki Anglican Communion.

Others were Rev. Emmanuel Nshii, State Overseer, Assemblies of God Church; Chief Austin Edeze, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti; and Eze Fidelis Nwaonumara, Chairman, Izzi/Nnodo Traditional Rulers Council, among others. 


Edited By: Sam Oditah/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Education

Protest: Ebonyi govt. says military in to secure protesters at federal college of agriculture Ishiagu

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The Ebonyi government on Tuesday defended the presence of the Nigerian Army and Police at the Federal College of Agriculture Ishiagu (FECAI) as its worker’s protest entered second day.

News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the insttution’s unions on Monday staged a peaceful protest at the institution’s premises and shut its gates over allegations of financial impropriety against some staff members.

NAN further recalls that the unions under the aegis of the Joint Action Union (JAC) locked the institution’s entrance gates, its administrative office, the provost’s lodge among others.

Dr Kelechi Igwe, Ebonyi Deputy Governor, while addressing the union members on Tuesday, said  the army and police’s presence was to check the movement and activities of hoodlums.

Igwe said that there were possibilities of the protesters being attacked as some people would flare with ‘external’ spirits possessing them and misbehave.

“You may  think that you are in control of the situation.

“But when the “war”songs assume high tempo some people who have other spirits leading them from their homes will start behaving uncontrollably.

“It will at the point become the sin of one on the leader; that you did not ask him to do it but you are leading the protest and will be held responsible,” he said.

The deputy governor assured that the security agencies would not molest or violate the rights of the protesters but would  ensure their safety.

“You should allow them to stay as the most civil thing protesters do all over the world is not to confront security operatives.

“No security man will attack you as long you conduct yourselves within the limits of the protest and we are happy that you have not killed, stoned or destroyed property,” he said.

He, however, warned that the government would not condone their presence constituting a threat on the road which passed from the institution unto Ishiagu community as it might heighten the tension.

“When people see you chanting war songs they will feel that an uncontrollable crisis will occur although you may feel that it is an innocent protest.

“You should make a report to the state government.

“Although we don’t have administrative jurisdiction over you as a federal institution, we will liaise with the relevant authorities to solve the problems,” he said.

Mr Bamidele Adekunle, Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), and leader of the protesters, decried the presence of the army and police over ‘an innocent’ protest.

“We are simply protesting that the administration of the institution’s Provost, Dr Wilfred Nwangwu, has been hijacked by three ‘cronies’ who take management decisions and generally run the institution.

“These people have been embezzling huge funds of the institution.

“Most prominent was the N13 million released by the Federal Government (FG) for sustainable agricultural programme to cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown.

“The provost  failed to handle the situation and we have duly petitioned the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria over this.

“The three staff members in the junior cadre have allotted official vehicles to themselves and eroded the legacies of the immediate past Provost, Prof. Justina Mgbada,” he alleged.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Umahi urges community to cease farming on disputed land in Ebonyi

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Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has urged Ishiagu Community of Ivo Local Government Area of the state to cease farming on the disputed land with Lokpanta community of Umunneochi LGA of Abia.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the age-long land dispute between both communities came into focus on May 30,  when two indigenes of Ishiagu were allegedly shot by Lokpanta indigenes as both sides abducted hostages.

Umahi, represented by his Deputy, Dr Kelechi Igwe, gave the advice on Tuesday while addressing the Ishiagu people, urging its traditional ruler to prevail on his subjects to cease farming on the disputed land.

“We realise that this is rainy season and people will engage in farm work but of what need will it be to plant and others will reap the proceeds.

“There is no gain to farm and in the process, you get shot and killed while other people still reap from the farm.

“I will call the deputy governor of Abia immediately to prevail on the Lokpanta people to cease further attacks on our people in keeping with the peace pact reached by both parties,” he said.

The governor said that overcoming the temptation of farming on the land would  prove to the National Boundary Commission (NBC) that its peace directive reached in 2016 was still being complied with.

“It is true that the Coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on most part of 2020 but we will still activate the process for the NBC to permanently demarcate the boundary to ensure permanent peace.

“We know that the ownership of the land is not in dispute but continue maintaining your peace as true owners of the land,” he said.

He commended the people for shunning reprisal attacks despite the provocation and assured them that the state government would not watch ‘intruders and strangers’ possess their land.

HRH Moses Ngene, Traditional Ruler of Ishiagu thanked the governor for the visit and assured him that he would continue to restrain his people even though it was difficult.

“When our people were attacked on their way to the farm, we remembered the governor’s injunction that we should not retaliate and we held our youths from doing so.

“We seek a permanent resolution to the issue because we are convinced that the land belongs to us and farming is our means of livelihood,” he said.

SP Dan Nwonu, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Ivo division, said that he called for reinforcements when he received the report of the shooting of two people from Ishiagu on their way to the farm

“I rushed both of them to the hospital where they are currently receiving treatment and when the reinforcement from the police headquarters Abakaliki arrived, we stormed the disputed area.

“I learnt that the Lokpanta people were holding an Ishiagu man hostage and I called the DPO of that area to ensure the safety of the hostage.

“I also ensured the safety of the Lokpanta hostage held by the Ishiagu youths and when my colleague in Abia safely brought and handed the Ishiagu hostage to me, I equally handed the Lokpanta hostage safely to him,” he said.

Chief Onyebuchi Ogbadu, Caretaker Chairman of Ivo LGA, thanked the governor for the visit and called for a lasting solution to the age-long land dispute.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Education

Unions seal entrances to Federal College of Agriculture in Ebonyi

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Labour unions at the Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu (FECAI), Ebonyi, on Monday staged a peaceful protest at the institution’s premises.

The protesters shut the institution gates over allegations of maladministration by some staff members of the university.

A News Agency of Nigeria correspondent who was the scene of  the protest, reports that the unions under the aegis of the Joint Action Union (JAC) occupied the entrance gates to prevent  movement in and out of the university.

The protesters numbering more than 500 were joined by some interest groups from the host community.

The non-violent protest saw the protesters displaying placards with inscriptions: “stooges have hijacked the provost’s duties”, “enough of corruption in FECAI”, “Provost and his cohorts must go”, among others.

Mr Bamidele Adekunle, Chairman of the institution’s branch of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), said that the administration of Dr Wilfred Nwangwu, the provost, had been hijacked by three ‘cronies’.

He alleged that the impostors took management decisions and  ran the institution.

“These people have been embezzling huge funds of the institution.

The N13 million released by the Federal Government (FG) for sustainable agricultural programme to cushion the effects of COVID-19 lockdown cannot be accounted for.

“The provost has failed to handle the situation and we have duly petitioned the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) over this.

“The three staff who run the institution are in the junior cadre and see to the posting and re-posting of staff while allotting official vehicles to themselves,” he said.

Mr Chukwudi Ezebuiro, Chairman of the institution’s Senior Staff Association, said that the actions of the provost and his ‘cohorts’ were eroding the legacies of the past heads of the institution

During Prof. Justina Mgbada’s tenure relevant rules and regulations were strictly adhered to, but since Nwangwu took over in January, inefficiency, corruption among others have become prevalent.

“In addition to petitioning we wrote to the relevant supervisory agencies.

“We had also petitioned the Police, Department of State Security (DSS) and are in the process of petitioning the anti-graft agencies,” he said.

Mr Ahamefula Nkemdirim, Chairman of the institution’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes, said that institution’s gates would remain shut even if schools were re-opened after the COVID-19 lockdown.

“We will lock the gates and offices until a substantive provost is appointed for the institution or a capable acting provost is appointed.

“The most intriguing action taken by these individuals is the re-posting of the Director of FECAI ventures, the institution’s main source of internally generated revenue for refusing to connive with them to destroy the institution,” he said.

When NAN contacted the institution’s Provost, Dr Nwangwu, on telephone, he initially declined to speak.

He had said that he was under the instruction of the Executive Secretary of ARCN  not to speak to the media.

He later told NAN that the allegation of over-bearing influence on him by some staff members of the institution was ‘partially true’.

He said the trio always ignored his directives.

“I directed the institution’s registrar to re-post them but he instead reposted those that were actually doing the work.

“I want the three staff members to be re-posted out so than I can have peace,” he said.


Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Defence/Security

2 injured, many abducted in Ebonyi, Abia clash -Police

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Two persons were allegedly injured and many abducted in renewed clash between Amata, Ishiagu community in Ivo local government area of Ebonyi and Lokpanta community in Abia state.

Mrs Loveth Odah, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Ebonyi, who confirmed the attack on Sunday in Abakaliki, said that the two commands were working to return normalcy to the affected areas.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two communities have been locked in years of inter-communal conflict over ownership of a farmland near their borders.

The warring communities renewed their hostilities on Saturday which led to two indigenes of Amata allegedly sustaining gunshot wounds.

Odah said that Abia and Ebonyi commands have sent detachments of tactical units to patrol the area and ensure law and order as well as to avert loss of lives and property.

“Our men are in control of the situation. They arrived the scene of crisis and rescued those abducted from the two sides and also aborted bloodbath; though two persons were injured from gun shots.

“It is a very unfortunate situation and we are appealing to both communities to sheath their swords and allow for dialogue.

“The two police commands will collaborate to ensure that security is maintained in the affected area to prevent the incessant clashes between the two communities,” the spokesperson said.

However, a source from Amata who spoke to NAN on condition of anonymity said that the incident took place on Saturday at the disputed farmland.

The source who escaped the attack said that it took the timely intervention of armed policemen from Ivo division to put the situation under control and prevent bloodshed.

He urged the state and federal governments to urgently intervene to save looming inter-communal clash between the two communities.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

How Ebonyi director labour initiative works for development

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Ebonyi has achieved a lot in the provision of infrastructure via the state government’s direct labour initiative, State Commissioner for Project Monitoring/Evaluation Oluchukwu Ezeali,  has said.

In a statement issued in Abuja, the commissioner said that Gov. David Umahi of the state had been using the initiative for development of the state since he assumed office.

He said that Umahi met the state in recession shortly after he assumed of office but turned the fortune of the state around through his initiatives.

He also said that the governor had, by employing indigenes and residents in contract execution, rejuvenated the civil service, improved household income, reduced social vices, crime and eliminated bureaucratic bottlenecks, among others.

He explained that through the direct labour policy, many people earned between N2, 000 and N8, 000 daily.

“Many of previously unemployed youths are daily engaged at these project sites; be it road construction, pipe-borne water reticulation, classrooms construction and renovations, among others,’’ he said.

The commissioner further said that the number of youths with skills that cut across jobs in high demand in the state required a separate study to ascertain.

“These skills being freely acquired at different locations across the state are empowering young people to monetise these skills as a means of livelihood.

“With experienced project supervisors overseeing each work, the knowledge transfer is enormous; this is one of the most important impacts of the Umahi Direct Labour policy,’’ he said.NAN)


Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Kayode Olaitan (NAN)

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General news

 Media practitioners call for collaboration to contain spread of COVID-19 in Ebonyi

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The Association of Ivo Media Practitioners (AIMP), has urged stakeholders at the various local communities in Ebonyi to collaborate in the fight against the spread of coronavirus pandemic in the state.

The association, an umbrella body of practising media professionals of Ivo extraction made the call at a meeting held on Sunday at Isiaka, the Ivo Local Government  Council headquarters.

The meeting was attended by representatives of various security agencies, political office holders, traditional rulers, women representatives and professional bodies among others.

Dr Nelson Ogbaeja, national coordinator of the association, commended Gov. Dave Umahi for putting in place various measures, strategies and protocols to contain the virus from spreading in the state.

He said that aggressive fight against COVID-19 pandemic required active collaboration of key stakeholders across the local communities to prevent community transmission of the virus.

Ogbaeja said that collective fight against the pandemic in Ivo LGA has become imperative in view of the recent discovery of an index case in the area.

The national coordinator of AIMP said that  combined efforts were needed to contain and prevent the spread.

Ivo LGA is a border local government with communities in Enugu, Abia and Imo states and people defy the lockdown on interstate movement to sneak into Ebonyi through these border communities.

“The indigenes of the area are in danger of contracting the deadly virus, hence the need for all hands to be on deck, while stakeholders should combine their energies to defeat the virus and stop it from spreading into our communities.

With Ebonyi confirmed to have the highest number of cases in the South-East zone, we must rise to the occasion, defend our frontiers by ensuring that no additional cases of the virus are recorded in our local government,” Ogbaeja said.

He, however, commended Chief Onyebuchi Ogbadu, who was inaugurated on May 29, as caretaker chairman of Ivo Local Government Council for bringing stakeholders of the council together to exchange ideas on how best to make the area safe and free from the deadly virus.

He said that AIMP would partner the new administration in the war against the coronavirus pandemic.

” I want to assure you that my members would use their respective media platforms to inform, educate and orientate  the grassroots on proper precautionary measures,” Ogbaeja said.

Ogbadu who called for the cooperation and collaboration of the stakeholders said that no success could be achieved in the fight against COVID-19 except with joint and collaborative efforts of the various stakeholders.

He commended Gov. Umahi for appointing him to serve the people and also for his efforts in ensuring that the disease was contained from spreading into the rural areas.

Ogbadu said that the meeting was called to address all the security challenges, especially in the fight against COVID -19 in the area and need to check illegal migration of persons into the area.

He said that the efforts must be geared towards securing the border communities to avoid unknown and suspected COVID-19 carriers from entering the area.

The chairman said that it was at the border that the council’s index case was discovered.

He said that security would be beefed up at the entry and exit points in the council area to prevent unauthorised movements in and out of the area.

“The local government council will do all that it will take to secure our borders and prevent illegal and unauthorised movements of people in and out of our council.

“We are going to strengthen and reposition our local vigilante to make them more efficient and responsive to the fight.

“We will also encourage the police which is the lead agency in the fight and other sister security agencies to actively collaborate to achieve good result.

Technical Assistants, Management Committee members, liaison officers, vigilante groups and interested members of Neighbourhood Watch will be posted to borders communities on morning and night shifting basis,” he said.

Ogbadu said that his administration would give total commitment to the curtailment of the spread of the virus in the area.

He said that the state government ban on commercial motorcycle operators from operating within 300 metres from the borders is still in force.

He said that anyone caught violating the ban would be arrested for prosecution.

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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