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NSCDC  arrest woman, 34 for human trafficking in Anambra.



The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Command in Anambra State has arrested a 34- year old woman, Mrs Nkeoma Ezuma, for alleged human trafficking.
Mr David Bille, the state NSCDC Commandant, disclosed this during a media briefing on Saturday in Awka.
Billie said, Ezuma, a restaurant owner at Agulu Ezechukwu Community in Aguata Local Government Area (LGA) of the state was arrested on Nov. 5, at Agulu Ezechukwu, while perfecting plans to move her victims outside Nigeria.
He disclosed that preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect specialised in trafficking teenage girls of between 17 and 25 years to Mali and other African countries where they were being forced into prostitution.
He said the command also rescued three victims- Ifeoma Ezenwanne (17 years), Chidimma Charles (18 years) and Mmesoma Onwue 17 years who were billed for Mali for prostitution by the suspect.
Billie said that the command got intelligence report on her illicit business, placed her on surveillance before her arrest on Nov.5.
He said that the suspect who had confessed to the crime would be handed over to National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) after investigation.
Billie also said that the command arrested one Emeka Eyiuche, 43 years, for job racketeering and defrauding of his victims numbering 10.
According to him, Eyiuche who hail from Umudisi Abacha in Idemili North LGA of the state specialised in extorting money from unsuspecting members of the public on the pretence of securing jobs for them.
“On Nov.7, 2019, at about 12:00 hours, following a tip off, men of my command arrested one Emeka Eyiuche.
“The suspect after extorting N204, 000 from his victims numbering 10, promised to secure jobs for them with the NSCDC,” he said.
Billie said the suspect who was in the custody of NSCDC, Awka was assisting the command in further investigation.
He said his command was poised to sustain the fight against all forms of criminality as well as ensure protection of lives and property.

Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa


OPEC+ likely to extend oil supply cuts until June – sources



OPEC and its allies are likely to extend existing oil output cuts when they meet next month until mid-2020, with non-OPEC oil producer Russia supporting Saudi Arabia’s push for stable oil prices amid the listing of state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 at its headquarters in Vienna to be followed by talks with a group of other oil producers, lead by Russia, known as OPEC+.

The current oil supply cuts run through to March 2020.

On Dec. 5, Saudi Arabia is set to announce the final pricing of the initial public offering of Aramco in what it hopes will be the world’s largest IPO.

The oil price at the time is likely to be key to Aramco’s listing, expected around mid-December.

“So far, we have two main scenarios: either meet in December and extend the current cuts until June or defer the decision until early next year, meet before March to see how the market looks and extend the cuts until the middle of the year,” said an OPEC source.

“It is more likely that we will extend the agreement in December to send a positive message to the market. The Saudis don’t want oil prices to fall, they want to put a floor under the prices because of the (Aramco) IPO.”

OPEC sources said market conditions in the first quarter of 2020 remain unclear amid concerns of a slowdown in oil demand and weak output compliance by some producers such as Iraq and Nigeria, which is complicating the outlook.

An OPEC delegate said: “My feeling is that (an extension) to end-June to avoid meeting again early March, with the possibility of calling for an (earlier) meeting should market conditions require it … is the likely scenario as of today.”

The two sources said formally announcing deeper cuts looked unlikely for now although a message about better compliance with existing cuts could be sent to the market.

Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s de facto leader, wants to focus first on boosting adherence to the group’s production-reduction pact before committing to any more cuts, they said.

“The Saudis want to see how the rest of those who are not complying (with the cuts) do first. There are no numbers being circulated so far for deeper cuts or changing output quotas,” said the first OPEC source.

Amrita Sen, co-founder of Energy Aspects think-tank, which closely watches OPEC and Saudi oil policies, said a mere extension by OPEC+ of the existing output cuts until June might not be enough to support oil prices.

“The market expects a further cut and an extension until the end of 2020. In any other scenario, the market will sell,” she said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin set the tone for the December meeting last week, calling Saudi Arabia’s position ahead of the talks “tough”.

Moscow argues that it will find it hard to cut oil production voluntarily during the cold winter months, especially in western Siberia, where Russia produces two-thirds of its oil and where most of its well rigs are located.

Freezing temperatures make it difficult for Russia to shut in and restart wells in winter months.

“There is no doubt that Russia won’t let the Saudis down in case of a price collapse given the upcoming IPO,” said one source familiar with Russian thinking.

He added that Putin had developed close ties with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Russian government was aware that the three-year-old partnership could fall apart if Russia did not support Riyadh.

The OPEC+ alliance has since January implemented a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day to help boost oil prices trading now at 62 dollars a barrel.

Edited by Abdullahi Mohammed/Tajudeen Atitebi (NAN)

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Lagos BRT operator to roll out 50 more buses



The operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) in Lagos, Primero Transport Services Limited, says it will roll out 50 more buses before the end of the year, to reduce the waiting time of commuters at bus stops in the state.

The Managing Director of the firm, Mr Fola Tinubu, told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos on Thursday that the firm was committed to making life easier for commuters.

According to him, the firm engages 300 buses daily to serve residents of the state in ensuring that they reach their destinations on time.

He said efforts were, however, being made to improve the services and that part of such efforts was to increase the number of buses engaged from 300 to 350 daily.

“We move an average of 150,000 passengers in Lagos daily, and we intend to increase that to 200,000 daily.

“We roll out 300 buses each day, and we intend to add another 50 buses to make life easier for people.

“We have done a lot in fulfilling the goals of the scheme and we are constantly working to improve our services. We will not fail or disappoint the teeming commuters in Lagos who rely on our services,” Tinubu said.

He said that the company was committed to reducing the waiting time at bus stops to a maximum of 10 minutes and did not want anyone to be stranded at bus stops.

The managing director said that the company had good maintenance mechanisms for its buses, which made many of them, though four years old, to be looking new.

Tinubu said the firm had 600 drivers aside other staff on its payroll.

The drivers, he said, undergo quarterly training to provide the best of services to the people.

He said this had become imperative to ensure commuters at bus stops and onboard were safe and secure.

According to him, the company has zero tolerance for any form of misbehaviour, disregard to safety, speed, recklessness and use of drugs or alcohol by its drivers and other staff.

He said that those who had been caught in such acts had been shown the way out of the firm.

“Our rule is that no driver should engage in drugs and alcohol, and we check randomly for this.

“We do computerised selection of 20 drivers in the morning and 20 drivers in the afternoon for drug and alcohol tests.

“No driver, not even me, knows who will be selected for the daily drug test. We do this to further strengthen safety onboard,” he said.

Tinubu commended the Lagos State Government for its efforts to stop commercial motorcyclists and other road users from encroaching into the BRT dedicated  lanes.

He assured commuters that the company would continue to improve on its services and mitigate their suffering in terms of movement from one destination to another in the state.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Ooni of Ife, group set to showcase tourist attractions in Ile-Ife



A Group, Ife Tourism Reloaded and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, will begin a two-day tourism drive in Ile-Ife and its environs to showcase tourist attractions in the ancient city.

The Chairman of the group, Mr Oluwagbenga Ayilola, made this known while speaking with newsmen in Okitipupa, Ondo State on Thursday.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the two-day programme will begin on Nov. 23.

Ayilola said that the programme, in its second edition, would not only promote tourism in Nigeria but would also open up economic activities in Ile-Ife and Osun at large.

He said that the country was blessed with many tourist attractions, many of which were yet to be unveiled to the world.

According to Ayilola, who is also the Mr Tourism Nigeria, the group is working assiduously with other stakeholders to explore various tourist sites in Ile-Ife and other parts of the country.

“Kabiyesi, the Ooni of Ife, will be leading us and other interested parties on a two-day tour to showcase the tourist attractions in the ancient city of Ife from a new perspective to the entire world.

“We will tour the Erin-Ijesha Waterfalls and other tourist centres, because we want the world to know that Ile-Ife and its environs have lots of tourist sites, exotic locations and great artistic structures.

”The event will not only promote the tourism industry in Nigeria but it will also boost the economic activities of Ile-Ife and indirectly advertise Osun State to tourist investors across the world,” he said.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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Ikotun market traders lament poor road network



Market groups in Lagos have appealed to the Ikotun- Igando Local Government Council Development Area (LCDA) on Thursday, to help fix road networks in the market.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the incessant downpour has made it difficult for customers to shop at Ikotun Market.

Mrs Janet Owolabi, a trader who sells condiments, told NAN that the roads hampers market women to carry out their trade, which has also affected sales.

“If you are not physically fit you can’t shop. The roads are so bad you have to be jumping like a frog, and we take turns on the walkway.

“It has affected sales, because on a good day some people don’t enjoy coming to the market, this has further discouraged them, they will rather go to convenient stores, leaving us in the market,’’ she said.

NAN reports that there are three gates that lead to the market, the first gate close to Synagogue is in a deplorable state, and the second gate close to the council was being devoured by erosion, while the third gate is the only road that is fair.

Mr Friday Njoku, who sells foodstuffs in the market, also told NAN that the bad roads have turned everyone coming to the market into `Atilogu’ dancer.

“The way people jump in this market one will think they are upcoming Atilogu dancers. The bad condition of the roads, coupled with the rain, has worsened the state of the roads.

“They should just declare state of emergency for our roads; they have to do something urgently to fix these roads. Our customers now prefer to patronise Igando market,’’ he said.

Ibrahim Sokunmi, a meat seller told NAN that in order to make sales, most people have to bring their goods to the road side, to attract customers that would not enter the market.

“Some customers just can’t stand dipping their legs inside mud, that’s why we need to come out to the roadside, and we also have to keep running from law enforcement officers to avoid arrest and fine.

“All these ‘white collar job’ people find it difficult to enter the market and there is no way they will enter the market without messing up their shoes,’’ he said.

Antonia Samson, who owns a provision store, urged the council to fix the roads, and make tax payers’ money count.

“We pay tax and as such it should count for something, we have to enjoy the dividend of paying tax in this market, the levies we pay is something,’’ she said.

The council’s market supervisor, Mr Lekan Komolafe, told NAN that the council would soon commence the rehabilitation of the roads.

“It is true the roads are bad as it is now, but the council will ensure immediate rehabilitation of the roads. There are procedures to be followed. I want to appeal to our traders to please exercise a little more patience,’’ he said.

Edited by Zainab Garba/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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NAN photographer Jones, others win UNDP photo contest



News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) photographers, Jones Bamidele as well as Obasa Olatunji and Emmanuella Madu have clinched the 2019 Photography Competition award organized by UNDP, Art for Humanity and Federal Ministry of Environment. Olatunji, a senior photojournalist with the Punch newspaper received the first prize, Bamidele got the second prize, while Madu, an architect went away with the third prize.

The UNDP Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya, while presenting the prizes to the winners at the UN House in Abuja, urged them to continue to take photographs that contribute to development.

He said that there were over 200 entries in the national photo contest and each entry was given thorough scrutiny to ensure it speaks about environmental issues, taken recently and accompanied by a story that really conveys the message that enlightens the public.

NAN Photographer Jones, Others Win UNDP Photo Contest

NAN reports that in October, UNDP working with the Art for Humanity and the Federal Ministry of Environment organized the first photo contest for professional and amateur photographers.

The photographs were to speak specifically on pollution, deforestation, climate change and waste management; and entries by the three winners were adjudged best by the jury.

Musonda Lucky, the UNDP Head of Communication and Partnership in Nigeria, said the aim of the competition was to encourage photographers to use their skills to tell stories around critical development related issues.

“This is because as they say, ‘A picture says a thousand words’, we also think a picture will expose a lot of potential areas of intervention that we as UNDP are working on.

“If we engage photographers and encourage them to help us tell a story, it will amplify some of the work we (UNDP) are doing here and of course it will bring to the public what issues they are in the country, which are related to development in general and environment in particular,” he said.

He explained that the 2019 Photography Competition involved analyzing hundreds of photographs submitted by a lot of photographers across the country, and the selection went through two levels of evaluation looking at many factors.

“The contest was about looking at environmental issues through the eyes of photographers. So, we found it very interesting because we then learned from the photographers that people look at environmental issues from different angles and they are willing to tell their stories from their angles.

From left: First prize winner, Obasa Olatunji; third prize winner, Emmanuela Madu; NDP Resident Representative, Mohamed Yahya; and second prize winner, Jones Bamidele, during the awards ceremony for the 2019 Photography Competition organized by UNDP in conjunction with Art for Humanity and Federal Ministry of Environment, at the United Nations House in Abuja.

“We appreciate photographers who are out there in the fields, in the communities, engaging with the public, engaging with the environment and they want to share with us their stories using their cameras.

“So, it was very interesting and interactive, which we wanted to try out for the first time and I think with the response we got, there are a lot of potentials to collaborate with photographers and also to engage them more in telling the stories that the environmental issues or the general development issues that the country faces can be told by the people with skill in photography,” he said.

Similarly, Ossai Efe, the Executive Director of Art for Humanity, a co-organiser of the photo contest was happy for the opportunity the contest has provided photographers to showcase their skills.

“For us, it was an opportunity not just to reward creativity but most importantly, to see how great issues that we face as a nation are being put in pictorial stories in a way that calls for global attention.

“So, it is win-win both for the participants, for us as organizers; being able to create that platform that makes visual stories to be relevant to national development and the nation at large.

‘’With these visual stories, we hope that beyond this competition, action at the policymaking and implementation levels will be taken to see that we live in a better environment,” he said.

Olatunji, first prize winner, said the award would spur him to think about photography and eat photography.

He also advised other photographers to be creative and also take the invitation for entry into photo contests seriously.

“Basically, I have won several awards such as the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting, Nigeria Breweries Golden Pen Award, Nigeria Media Merit Award, PMAN Award, Diamond Merit Award, and this UNDP award,” he said.

Bamidele, the second prize winner, said he had won many awards in graphics and photography but cherished the UNDP award above all.

“I always tell my colleagues that award winning photographs are not gotten from press conferences. We should be very diligent and creative, as we pride our trade. We should also find time to put in for competitions and stage photo exhibitions to showcase our talents at every given opportunity,” he advised.

Madu, the third prize winner said she reluctantly entered the competition because she thought it was a waste of time.

She said it was her friends’ encouragement that made search through her photo gallery from which she submitted her winning entry.

She was glad she entered the competition and was grateful to the organisers for finding a place for her entry in the first three.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Don calls for adequate investments in agriculture to end poverty



Prof. Tunji Arokoyo, an Agricultural Extension Development Communications Specialist, says only adequate investments in agriculture will surely take Nigeria out of poverty.

Arokoyo made this known at a Stakeholders’ Forum organised by Ogun Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Abeokuta on Thursday.

He noted that the Federal and State Governments should prioritise agricultural development in the country by committing the right money to the sector.

“Let me give you an example. The Maputo Agreement way back in 2003 says we’re all (all heads of state in AU) going to put 10 per cent of our budgets into agricultural development.

“We now came back again and went to Malabo 2014 and we reaffirmed that we were going to be committed to agriculture with the 10 per cent budgetary allocation.

“Only three countries have done that in the whole of Africa. I don’t know what happens to them when they sign all these MoUs and declarations.

“Oil is drying off; we should look at what is happening in other climes. UK has said that from 2025, no more fossil fuel-powered vehicles. What is Nigeria doing about it?

“There’s no car you’ll find in Brazil today that’s not hybrid using bio-fuel from cassava, sugarcane and jetropha and so on. What have we done with our zero hunger project,’’ he said.

Arokoyo urged government to pay adequate attention to agriculture, saying that the sector remained the only magic that could take Nigeria out of poverty.

The State Project Coordinator of VCDP, Mr Samuel Adeogun, explained that one of the issues, particularly with youths and women was access to land.

Adeogun said that one of the interventions of the programme was to be able to clear land for the farmers in specific locations.

He said: “When that is done, it assists youths, women and other farmers who do not have direct access to land to be able to have direct access to land to farm.

“This is because we’re working in just eight local governments and we’re working with some of the farmers’ groups. We’re looking forward to be able to have up to 20,000 hectares.

“This is because as we speak to you, we have more than 12,000 farmers in our database across eight local governments in the state.’’

Edited by Shittu Obassa/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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