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Obasanjo commissions Owerri Central Market Complex

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State have commissioned the Owerri Central Market Complex, describing it as a blessing to Imo State and Nigeria.

Obasanjo, who arrived in the state to grace the occasion, expressed confidence in the project’s potential to attract investors and create jobs, wealth, and development.

The former president made the remarks on Friday during the groundbreaking ceremony of the market project at Umuohiadagu Umualum in the Nekede area of Owerri.

He said: “The Owerri Central Market Complex has been planned to attract businessmen and women from across the country and beyond.

“It will create jobs, wealth, harmony, unity, and development for Imo State and Nigeria at large.”

Obasanjo commended the governor for his efforts to develop Imo State and expressed confidence in the project’s potential to recoup investments through profit. “The money invested will be recouped through profit from the investment,” he said.

He described Owerri as the Eastern Heartland and recalled how Nigerian troops, under his command during the Nigeria/ Biafra war, needed to conquer Owerri, to conclusively bring the civil war which he said was necessary to unite the country, to an end.

Speaking, the Governor appreciated Obasanjo’s support for Imo State and promised to provide an enabling environment for the project’s success.

“We will encourage you to climb. Don’t be afraid, we will support you,” he told the project’s promoter, Nze Ozichukwu Chukwu.

“This market will be a source of blessing to Imo State and Nigeria at large when completed,” Governor Uzodimma said at the ground-breaking ceremony.

The Governor regretted that the construction of the Owerri Central Market Complex was stalled for a very long time as a result of many challenges, including illegal balkanization of the land.

He said in the wisdom of the government, a Commission of enquiry was set up which led to the recovery of the land, noting that going forward, the government will play its role not to betray the confidence of those who have elected to invest in the project.

In their separate but similar remarks, Nze Chukwu,  the promoter of the project and the Commissioner for Trade, Commerce and Investment, Barr. Rex Anunobi thanked Governor Uzodimma for his untiring effort to see Imo State experience development in all areas and expressed confidence that the Owerri Central Market Complex would change the business and commercial outlook of Imo State when completed.

Other dignitaries at the occasion, including the Deputy Governor, Lady Chinyere Ekomaru; Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Chike Olemgbe; Senators Ezenwa Onyewuchi; and Patrick Ndubueze, expressed support for the project and appreciation for Governor Uzodimma’s development efforts.

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Singer, Portable Fights Okada Man in Lagos Over Stolen Phone

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Controversial Nigerian singer Habeeb Okikiola, better known as Portable, is at it again, but this time with a bike man.

The street singer, who recently returned from America, caused a commotion in Lagos as he fought dirty with a bike man, who he accused of stealing his phone. In videos making rounds online, the singer, who was wearing a yellow hoodie, was captured engaging in a fistfight with the bike man as Lagosians gathered to separate them.

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DSS Busts Suspected Terrorist’s Residence In Niger, Recovers Arms, Dollars

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By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Personnel from the Department of State Services (DSS) conducted a raid on Wednesday at the residence of a suspected hardened terrorist in the Gbeganu area, a suburb of Minna, Niger State.

The raid, which took place during the daytime, caused fear among residents in the area.

According to sources familiar with the operation, this was the third raid in less than four years in the neighbouring areas of Nkangbe and Gbeganu, both in Bosso Local Government Area. The suspect targeted in this raid was allegedly a storekeeper for a terrorist group, although specific details about the recovered weapons were not disclosed.

Residents informed Daily Trust that a substantial amount of cash, including dollars, was seized during the operation. The suspect had been known as a tricycle rider before the raid revealed his alleged involvement with terrorist activities.

Previous incidents include a similar raid in October 2023, where a suspected terrorist engaged security forces in a fierce gun battle before escaping, and in June 2021, when a house linked to a notorious kidnapper was demolished after weapons were found in a raid.

The Niger State Police Command spokesperson, SP Wasiu Abiodun, stated that they had no information regarding the recent raid when contacted.

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Tinubu’s Minister Disobeys President’s Order, Fails to Confirm Appointment As Directed

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The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Heineken Lokpobiri, has allegedly failed to implement President Bola Tinubu’s directive to appoint Nicholas Agbo-Ella as Nigeria’s OPEC Governor.

Recall that in a May 6 directive, President Tinubu instructed Lokpobiri to submit Agbo-Ella’s name to replace Gabriel Aduda, who was redeployed to the Ministry of Women Affairs.

President Tinubu in his memo to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and copied to Mr Lokpobiri said that Mr Lokpobiri should “take immediate steps to notify OPEC of the change of Permanent Secretary and replace Ambassador Gabriel T. Aduda’s name with Ambassador Nicholas Agbo-Ella as the Governor nominated by the Federal Republic of Nigeria, being the current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Petroleum.”

The minister was directed to ensure the “replacement is confirmed by the conference scheduled for 1 June 2024.”

Mr Aduda is a brother to former FCT Senator Philip Aduda who is reportedly an ally of Nyesom Wike.

 

According to sources within the administration, Mr. Lokpobiri has failed to submit Mr. Agbo-Ella’s name to the OPEC Board of Governors as of June 1, despite the president’s directive.

The reason behind Mr. Lokpobiri’s inaction is unclear, and it remains a mystery why Mr. Aduda, who has been reassigned to the Ministry of Women Affairs, continues to serve as OPEC governor.

 

Checks show that Mr Aduda is still listed as Nigeria’s Governor on the OPEC website.

Sources close to the ministry revealed that Mr. Aduda, despite his transfer from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, was recently photographed receiving the OPEC Secretary General, Haitham Al Ghais, in Nigeria. Additionally, a photograph dated June 2, 2024, shows Mr. Lokpobiri and Mr. Aduda attending an OPEC meeting virtually.

This is also not Mr. Aduda’s first controversial involvement. In May 2014, it was widely reported how he entered the federal civil service despite failing exams at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

After resigning due to poor performance, he was surprisingly appointed Director of the Economic Research and Policy Management Department at the Federal Ministry of Finance just six months later. He has since served in various ministries, including Foreign Affairs, Petroleum Resources, and now Women’s Affairs.

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