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Trader arraigned over alleged N1.7m theft



A 51-year-old trader, Joseph Nwankwo, charged with stealing N1.7 million,  on Wednesday appeared  before an Ikeja Magistrates’ Court.

The defendant, who resides at Ikotun, Lagos, was charged  before Magistrate M.O. Tanimola, but he pleaded not guilty to the one-count charge.

Tanimola  admitted him to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum.

He said that the sureties should be gainfully employed and show evidence of two years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

The prosecutor, Insp. Aondohemba Koti, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Feb. 19 at Ladipo in Mushin, Lagos.

He said that the defendant collected N1.7 million from one Mr Joseph Musedu on the pretext of helping him to buy a Yamaha 200 HP engine, a representation he knew to be false.

“After the defendant collected the money from the complainant, he converted it to his own use.

“Efforts made by the complainant to get the engine or retrieve his money proved unsuccessful.

“The complainant reported the case, and the defendant was arrested,” the prosecutor said.

The alleged offence violates Section 287 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Section 287 stipulates three years’ imprisonment for stealing.

The case was adjourned till May 20 for mention.


Oil prices edge down as wary traders eye upcoming OPEC+ meeting



Oil prices edged down on Monday as traders took profits, with the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) considering meeting as soon as this week to discuss whether to extend record production cuts beyond end-June.

Brent crude LCOc1 fell 15 cents, or 0.4 per cent, to $37.69 a barrel, in the first day of trading in the contract with August as the front month.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 for July delivery were at $35.36 a barrel, down 13 cents, or 0.4 per cent, by 0419 GMT.

The price falls come after front-month Brent and WTI prices posted their strongest monthly gains in years in May.

Gains were boosted by OPEC crude production dropping to its lowest in two decades, with demand expected to recover as more nations emerge from coronavirus lockdowns.

“The focus is very much on OPEC+,’’ OCBC economist, Howie Lee, said, referring to OPEC and its allies including Russia.

OPEC+ agreed in April to reduce output by an unprecedented 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in May and June after the coronavirus pandemic ravaged demand.

“We might see a cautious pullback in (crude) prices given that downstream prices haven’t caught up … but if OPEC+ does come up with a three-month extension, there’s a possibility that prices may hit the $40 level,’’ Lee said.

Still, tensions between the United States and China weighed on global financial markets, while traders are also keeping an eye on riots over the weekend that have engulfed major United States cities.

Saudi Arabia is proposing to extend record cuts from May and June until the end of the year, but has yet to win support from Russia, sources have told Reuters.

Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed that an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to facilitate oil sales for countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait.

Russia has no objection to the meeting being brought forward to June 4.

“It’s been widely interpreted as likely to lead to an extension of the current production cuts,’’ CMC Markets’ Chief Market Strategist, Michael McCarthy, said.

“Oil prices have come down slightly in our session but they’re still at elevated levels.

“I suspect that’s the key driver of prices on Friday night and should keep prices reasonably well supported today.’’

Meanwhile supply in North America is also falling as data from Baker Hughes Co showed that the United States and Canada oil and gas rigs count dropped to a record low in the week to May 29.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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New York governor rings opening bell at exchange as traders return



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, as a limited number of traders returned to the historic floor for the first time since March.

The coronavirus pandemic in New York City has been particularly severe.

The city has suffered some 20,000 deaths, about a fifth of the total across the whole of the United States.

The exchange floor closed after an outbreak of several cases within the building.

Stocks opened higher on Tuesday, after a long weekend for Memorial Day observed on Monday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up about 2.2 per cent on the open, while the S&P 500 gained some 1.8 per cent, pushing it past the 3,000 point threshold for the first time since March. The tech heavy Nasdaq was also higher by about 1.5 per cent.

Hopes for a vaccine are helping to boost confidence, along with the gradual reopening of economies in states across the country.

Traders will have to wear masks and handshakes are banned, while social distancing measures are in place on the floor.

Several dozen traders returned – about 25 per cent of normal activity.

NYSE chief Stacey Cunningham was on CNBC, a cable news channel, and said traders had to sign an indemnification waiver and also vowed to follow the health and safety rules.

Cuomo wore a mask as he rang the bell and gave high-fives in the air, without touching anyone else.

Meanwhile, New York state continued its downward trend in reported coronavirus deaths and cases as the governor turned his focus towards helping New York’s embattled economy.

The state recorded 73 deaths from COVID-19 and roughly 200 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the lowest numbers since the start of the outbreak over two months ago, Cuomo said Tuesday during his daily press conference.

“In this absurd new reality, that is good news,” he added.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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900 female traders to get interest-free loans in Ondo



Dorian Homes for Charity and Social Development, an NGO, has set up a micro-credit scheme to give soft loans of between N30,000 to N100,000 to 900 female traders in Ondo State.

Mrs Olabisi Adefioye, an Executive  member of the NGO, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Akure.

Adefioye said the loan was to help ameliorate the sufferings of the downtrodden and the less privileged in Ondo State.

“The micro-credit scheme is set to give soft loans to over 600 traders, in addition to the 300 traders who benefited from this gesture, in November 2019.”

Adefioye said the loan was meant to help very small scale traders to have access to money without collateral security for the purpose of expanding their businesses.

”It enables artisans, street hawkers, and petty traders to have access to loan facilities from N30,000 to N100,000 in order to boost their businesses.

“This scheme, powered by Dorian Homes, is aimed at funding micro businesses in Ondo State,” she said.

According to her, the organisation is meant to put smiles on the faces of the people, with a passion to give back to the society.(NAN)

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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COVID-19: FG appeals to traders, transporters not to hike prices



The Federal Government has appealed to traders not to hike prices of food items and transportation as the country battles to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, made the appeal at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily news briefing on Thursday in Abuja.

He said it was necessary that market women and men understood the enormity of the time regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that there is need to show compassion to all Nigerians by not hiking prices of foodstuff and services.

The minister said that this period was a time to give back to the society, while calling on Nigerians not to take the opportunity of COVID-19 to further oppress other Nigerians.

“This is a time people are giving back to the society. We call on our compatriots not to take the opportunity to oppress the people,” he urged.

Mohammed also urged the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NUTRW) to ensure that the transportation cost of food items being taken to other parts of the country were not hiked.

He said that it was regrettable that despite being aware of the danger posed by COVID-19, the NUTRW members still flout the guidelines of the lockdown as they carried passengers above the approved number.

The minister noted that some members of the union had refused to accept that COVID-19 was real, adding that this can be the reason for flouting the guidelines by carrying five to four passengers.

He said that the members had refused to heed the call by PTF to take precaution in carrying passengers, warning that such can be detrimental to their health.

The minister also called on state governors to engage members of NUTRW in their states in order to salvage the situation and contain the deadly virus.

“We need to carry NUTRW along. We cannot micromanage their activities in the state from the centre,” he said.

Mohammed said that the NUTRW had the mechanism to engage their members, adding that they had been warned not to carry more than three passengers.

The minister commercial cab and privaye are enjoined to carry only one passenger in the front and two at the back seat.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Ilorin youth group empowers 121 traders, indigent with N1.7m



The Ilorin Emirate Youth Development Association (IEYDA), on Wednesday, empowered 121 traders and the indigent with a sum of N1.7 million.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the beneficiaries got between N10,000 and N40,000 each, depending on the type of their businesses.
NAN also reports that the programme was the fifth in the annual Lailatul-Quadir and empowerment scheme by the association.
Speaking at the occasion, the President of the association, Alhaji Babatunde Salaudeen, said that the annual event was aimed at assisting the beneficiaries, who might have eaten deep into their capital during the month of Ramadan.
He said that the gesture would help them in reinvesting in their businesses after the month of Ramadan.
In his own remarks, the National Publicity Secretary of the association, Alhaji Uthman Jagunma, said that the gesture was in furtherance of the philanthropic disposition of the association.
Jagunma said that the empowerment was done in spite of the huge amount which the association had earlier spent on palliatives for the COVID-19 lockdown and the Ramadan packages distributed to the vulnerable.
He disclosed that the fund being used for the empowerment was made available by a certain philanthropist in the emirate, adding that “the beneficiaries will not pay a single kobo in return.”
Jagunma urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the money, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
NAN reports that the cash presentation was made in compliance with the physical distancing guideline of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Earlier, the National Missioner of IEYDA, Mallam Muritala Ottan, had led people on a special prayer to commemorate the Lailatul-Qadr.
Speaking on behalf of the beneficiaries, Hajia Raliat Sanni, from Jebba in Moro Local Government area of the state, appreciated the association for the gesture.
She prayed Allah to continue to provide in abundance for the donor and the facilitators.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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COVID-19: Society sensitises traders, artisans on preventive measures



The Red Cross Society (RCS), Enugu State, on Wednesday, sensitised traders and artisans at Nkwo-Ibagwa market on the preventive measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

In a statement signed by the spokesman of the organisation, Mr Festus Agbo in Enugu, the RCS chairman in Nsukka Division, Mr Paschal Asadu, urged the traders to protect themselves against the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world.

Asadu called on the traders to adhere to the NCDC’s directives on regular washing of hands, use of alcohol-based sanitiser as well as use of face masks.

The chairman advised the traders to maintain physical distance while transacting business with their customers in order to avoid person to person transmission of the virus.

Also speaking, the state’s Health Coordinator of the Society, Mrs Jessie Maduekwe, blamed lack of sensitisation as a major factor hindering  compliance with safety measures in the state.

Maduekwe said that coronavirus was not a death sentence, but urged the traders to listen and understand government’s instructions to avoid the spread of false information about COVID-19.

The society distributed protective materials such as hands sanitisers among others to the traders.

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Yemi Idris-Aduloju (NAN)



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COVID-19: Ikole LG chairman urges traders to maintain social distance 



The Ikole Local Government Council of Ekiti on Wednesday appealed to traders to always maintain social distance and wear face mask to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The Chairman of the council, Mr Sola Olominu, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ikole-Ekiti.

Olominu said it was essential for the traders and the people visiting the mini markets to adhere strictly to the precautionary measures put in place by the health officers so as to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

“We are aware that every Wednesday of the week the lockdown is being relaxed for traders to sell some of their goods but social distancing is very important if we must stop the spread of the virus.

“I want to appeal to our traders to always maintain social distance and wear their face mask as well as observe regular hand washing and use of sanitisers while in the market,” he said.

He urged the traders not to violate the directives and always keep their environment clean.

The chairman, who frowned at some of the traders hawking and displaying their goods on the major roads, said that it was not polite because it could cause accident for the upcoming vehicles and for the traders.

Olominu appealed to the traders to desist from displaying their goods on the roads, saying that they should not be selling their goods by the side of the road to avoid unnecessary traffic jam within the community.

He advised the market women to educate their children on the importance of social distancing and the use of face mask on daily basis.

He gave an assurance that both the local and state governments were working hard to curb the spread of the virus in the state.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)




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Virtual hearing: Lagos court acquits trader of robbing Indian



A Lagos State High Court on Thursday acquitted a trader, Ola Samson of robbing an Indian national, Mr Manish Batiah of six laptops, a Nissan Almera saloon car and jewellery valued at 2,800 dollars.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Olamide Akinkugbe, during a virtual hearing proceeding held via the Zoom Meeting app, acquitted and discharged Samson of the two-count charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery.

The judge said the prosecution team did not prove the charges against Samson beyond reasonable doubt.

The prosecution led by Mrs Yinka Adeyemi, said Samson had allegedly committed the offence while armed with dangerous weapons alongside others who are now at large at 1am on April 8, 2017 at No. 16A, Daniyan Natalia St., Lekki Phase One, Lagos.

Samson in his testimony during the trial, denied robbing Batiah and had said he was arrested by authorities after he had bought one of the complainant’s allegedly stolen phones at the Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos.

Justice Akinkugbe in her judgment on Thursday held that Samson was not positively identified by Batiah as one of the persons who robbed him.

“There is also the issue of First Defence Witness (DW1) – Samson having a receipt for the phone which was allegedly never followed up.

“The version of how the defendant came in possession of the phone is not an improbable, I hold and was not controverted under cross-examination.

“The possession of a phone is not cogent proof that the defendant stole it,” the judge said.

Justice Akinkugbe noted that the prosecution had failed to establish that the defendant was at the scene of the crime.

She said: “The prosecution has also failed to place any evidence before the court which will raise an inference whether direct or circumstantial of conspiracy to commit robbery against the defendant.

“The prosecution have failed to prove an intention of a meeting of minds of the alleged perpetuators of the alleged crime to enable it become a conspiracy and to be translated into the physical act of armed robbery.

“On the totality of the evidence before the court, I find that the prosecution has not proven the charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery against the defendant beyond reasonable doubt.

“Ola Samson, I find you not guilty as charged and you are hereby discharged and acquitted on both counts.”

Following the judgment, the defence counsel Mr A. O Ajayi, thanked the court for a “well-considered” judgment.

NAN reports that Samson was arraigned on Oct. 6, 2018 and had pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery, which contravenes Sections 297 and 299 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015.

The trial began on Nov. 23, 2018 and the defence closed its case on June 3, 2019.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Lockdown: Non-essential items traders appeal to govt. to re-open Ogbete Market



Non-essential items traders in Ogbete Main Market, Enugu, on Tuesday appealed to the state government to re-open the market.

Some of the traders made the appeal in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria in Enugu.

According to them, they will maintain the precautionary measures needed to contain the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the market.

They said re-opening the market would enable them go back to business and have access  to their shops, adding that the government had re-opened other markets for business activities.

Mr Hilary Ugochukwu, a dealer in men’s wears, said Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, should help traders by re-opening the main market as he did the other markets in the metropolis.

“I want the governor to be fair to all traders, irrespective of where the market is located and what we sell.

“Since other markets have been directed to open from 8am to 2pm, every trader in Ogbete Main Market should also be allowed to open his or her shop for business,” he said.

Mrs Chizoba Onyia, dealer on kitchen utensils, said she was amazed that other markets were directed to open except the main market.

I am appealing to the state government to consider Ogbete Main Market traders and re-open the market for them to start their businesses again,” she said.

Mr Daniel Egwu, dealer in second hand clothings, said that since the closure of the market, traders of non-essential commodities had been facing a lot of financial challenges.

“I am appealing to Gov. Ugwuanyi to help us and re-open our market.

”I wonder why he did not re-open the main market as he directed others.

”I pray he comes to our rescue because we are really suffering,” Egwu said.

Mr Festus Onuchukwu, another trader, appealed to the market executives to dialogue with the government on the need to re-open the market.

“No matter the problem we have with the government, I believe dialogue will help in solving it, so that we can go back to our businesses again,” he said.

Miss Nkiru Igwe, a hair dresser at Ogbete Main Market, said almost all the traders had bought the tap plastic buckets for water, soap and sanitizers.

”The items were for the use of customers whenever they were directed to go back to their businesses.

“We are promising the government that every trader in the main market will obey and carry out all precautionary measures by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” she said.

Meanwhile, some sellers and users of stationeries including pens, exercise and text books, markers, card board sheets have decried the scarcity of such commodities following closure of Ogbete Market.

A parent, Mrs Chioma Eneh, said she could not buy pens and some text books required for assignments from her children’s e-learning.

According to her, my children ran out of biro to write their assignments from e-learning but I couldn’t get them from some provision stores in my neighborhood as they complained of its scarcity.

”I couldn’t also find some text books like ‘The Only Son’ and some workbooks for them. Bookshops are essential facilities.

” I am appealing to the state government to allow them to open at least twice a week,” she pleaded.

NAN reports that the state governor had on May 2 agreed on a phased re-opening of the Ogbete Main Market with the market executives, for only essential products with a weekly review of developments.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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