42,000 Birds Die as Bird Flu Attack Plateau

Avian influenza killed 42,000 birds in 12 farms in Plateau, between January and February 2017, according to the local chapter of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN).

Its Chairman, Mr John Dasar, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Jos, that more birds were being depopulated in some farms to prevent further spread of the bird flu.

Dasar attributed the fast spread of the disease to the non-payment of compensation to farmers affected by the disease in 2015 and 2016.

“Such farmers, out of desperation and frustration, decided to sell their affected birds in the open markets.

“More than 130 poultry farmers were affected by the disease in 2015 and 2016; the birds were destroyed by the federal government, but compensations were not paid,” he said.

Dasar said that farmers in Plateau were going through “a very tough time” following the resurgence of the bird flu “especially in the last one week”.

The chairman regretted that most farmers do not report the outbreak of the disease in their farms.

“They prefer to sell their birds to marketers than wait for government compensation that will never come.

“Whenever we get wind of an outbreak, we alert government officials to take immediate action; that is the only option we have,” Dasar said.

The PAN boss revealed that the outbreak of the disease had affected the supply of eggs and other poultry products in the markets.

“The supply has gone down and that is affecting the prices because demand is now higher than supply,” he said.

The chairman, however, appealed to affected poultry farmers to be patient as modalities for compensations were being worked out.

He expressed optimism that the Federal Government would adequately compensate affected farmers “at the end of the day”.

“We met with the the Minister of Agriculture a month ago and he promised that something will be done in no distant time. He assured me that the compensations will soon be paid,” he said.

Dasar said that he personally met with PAN national officials three times last week, and was given the assurance that the monies would be paid.

“Two weeks ago, PAN officials also met with Vice President Yemi Osibanjo and he ordered that the payments be processed; so, it is just a matter of time,” he said.

The chairman appealed to farmers to adopt serious bio-security measures to prevent the flu, and also report any outbreak in their farms promptly.

“When farmers report promptly, we shall be able to avert further spread of the disease in the state.” he said.


SON Arrests two Chinese for Importing N5bn Fake Tyres

The Standards Organisation of Nigeria has arrested two Chinese nationals, Taolung Shen and Xu Jing Yau, who were said to have dealt in substandard tyres worth over N5bn.

The suspects, according to a statement on Sunday, were paraded following their arrest, and the sealing of the warehouse where they had been cloning different sizes of tyres under different brand names.

The suspects, the statement added, churned out the substandard tyres into the Nigerian market under brand names such as Powertrac, Aptany, Harmony, Duraturn, Bearway, City Tour, Winda, Glory, Chachland, City Grand, Grandsonte and Sunny.

According to SON, the suspects brought the substandard tyres into Nigeria by stuffing them into one another.

“Sometimes as many as five tyres were stuffed into one and the tyres would have bent and ruptured in several places, thereby looking weak and slack.

“But the Chinese adorned the tyres with new labels and shinny linings to create the impression of being new and healthy,” SON said.

Some of the tyres found in the warehouse had post-dated manufacturing dates.

The agency’s Director General, Osita Aboloma, who conducted journalists round the warehouse, described the tyres as dead on arrival, saying allowing the sale of such tyres in the country amounted to “surreptitiously taking away the lives of millions of Nigerians.”

He observed that by stuffing the tyres into one another and conveying them through the sea from China to Lagos, the quality of the tyres had already been compromised.

Aboloma also noted that the crude way the tyres were separated on arrival in Nigeria and the poor storage facility, without sufficient aeration, in the warehouse had further compromised their quality.

“The SON Directorate of Compliance intercepted one of their trucks on the highway, tracked it and then this.

“You can see the amount of danger that these people are posing to our people and our economy just because they want to make huge profit at the expense of the lives of Nigerians.

“It is a clear case of investing millions in illicit business in order to take away the lives of millions of Nigerians, to destroy the lives of millions of Nigerians. If we allow something like this, it will amount to killing Nigerians,” Aboloma said.

The DG said there would be no hiding place for people who dealt in adulterated products in the country.

“I want to reiterate that there is no hiding place for those who deal in substandard products as they would be caught and their products confiscated. Today’s feat is an example,” he said.

Aboloma advised users of automobile tyres nationwide on the need to be extra-cautious when making purchases of such products.

He urged tyre users to henceforth demand that dealers indicate the manufacturing dates on the receipts, so as to make the seller take responsibility on any product sold by them.

The Punch

Buhari has not Disappointed Me – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says that the current Nigerian leader, Muhammadu Buhari, has not disappointed him since he assumed office in 2015.

Obasanjo stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta.

While reflecting on the Buhari administration since 2015, Obasanjo said that the president had done his best to move the country forward.

“Whatever anybody says, President Buhari has not disappointed me from what I know of him,’’ he said.

He said the president had delivered on his core areas of strength and ability, particularly in the anti-corruption crusade and the war against insurgency.

“In my book, I have said that Buhari is not strong on the economy and I did not write this to run him down.

“I also used to think that he is not strong in the area of foreign affairs, but I have realised that he has improved very well.

“He has actually done his best in the areas where we know him to be strong,” he said.

The elder statesman urged Nigerians not to relent in their support for Buhari and not to give up on Nigeria.

“Whatever you might see as bad in Nigeria, other societies have gone through the same at some period in their history.

“It is not for us to begin to condemn but to begin to join hands together and consider how we can make the best out of our present.

“”Our present situation is a passing phase and we need to be resilient to ensure that we are not consumed by it.

“I will be the first to admit that we have not been where we should have been, but note that we have also been far from where we could have been because it could have been worse.

“It is the height of ingratitude for people to say Nigeria has not achieved anything or much as a nation.

“The generation before mine fought for Nigeria’s independence, that is great.

“My own generation, which is the next, fought to sustain the unity of Nigeria.

“Since 1999, Nigeria had enjoyed 18 years of unbroken democracy.

“We witnessed in 2007 a transition of power from one individual to another in the same party.

“We witnessed in 2015 a transition of power from an individual in the ruling party to another individual in the opposition party.

“All these should not be taken for granted,” he said.

Obasanjo also decried the call for national conferences or assemblies to negotiate the continued unity of Nigeria.

The former president who, described such conferences as distractions, said he did not bother to read the report of the last one organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

” We Nigerians need ourselves and if anyone thinks he does not need another person, good luck to him.

“What I see in all those groups trying to break away is that they want more of the national cake.

“The fact that you want more of the cake means that it is good and you like it, else you will not be asking for more of it.

“I do understand the agitations of the youths in that the increased facilities that now exist as against our own time have not translated to adequate opportunities for them.

“But I think that rather than engage in violence, they should think of how to build on the sacrifices of the generations before them,” he said.

The elder statesman, who would turn 80 on March 5, said he had no regrets at such an age.

He said that his hope that Nigeria would still be a great nation was still intact.


Bishop Commends Aregbesola Over Infrastructure Development

The Bishop, Diocese of Osogbo, Methodist Church Nigeria, Rt. Rev. Amos Ogunrinde, has commended Governor of the state of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola over infrastructural and educational development in the state.

The Bishop made the comment during a press conference he addressed in Osogbo as one of the activities to mark the 10th anniversary of the diocese. The Bishop also appealed to the Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, to pay 19 months in half salaries, which the government owes state workers.

According to Punch Newspaper, the cleric stated that the state government was paying workers on grade levels one to seven full salaries, while other categories of workers were receiving modulated salaries since July 2015 when economic crisis took its toll on the state.

He said, “May I also encourage Mr. Governor to make payment of workers’ salaries a priority in the state. Labourers deserve their wages. There are outstanding salaries of 19 months. We cannot say that some categories of workers, who have been collecting half salaries since July 2015, have been paid fully.

“We understand the economic problem which is affecting many states including Osun but we want the governor to make payment of salaries a priority. A hungry man is an angry man.”

The bishop however gave a strong commendation on Governor Aregbesola for infrastructural and educational development in the state.

No Place For Illegal, Unqualified Rehabilitation Homes In Osun – Govt

The Government of Osun on Sunday warned against setting up of illegal healing and rehabilitation homes in any part of the state.

Government’s statement came on the heels of the discovery of an illegal rehabilitation home along the Iwo-Osogbo Road, on Thursday.

The statement signed by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, said with government’s investment in a care centre for people with mental challenge, no one has reason to patronize unqualified homes for mental illness.

The statement said, “The attention of the Government of Osun has been drawn to the existence of an uncertified rehabilitation home where about two dozens of mentally challenged persons have been discovered.

“The discovery was made off the Iwo-Osogbo Road on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017.

“Preliminary investigations have indicated that the person who claims to be in charge of this rehabilitation home; the entire environments of the location and other relevant factors have shown that this is unacceptable.”

The statement explained that the Government has moved fast to evacuate the emaciated mentally challenged persons who were found to be in different deplorable states of health to its facilities at the state hospital and rehabilitation home while the State Police Command continues with its full investigations.

The statement added, “This is therefore to state categorically that the Government of Osun will not permit the setting up and running of rehabilitation homes in any part of the state.

As a government with a high sense of responsibility to its people, the State, through its Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Special Needs, has put in place a rehabilitation home that meets international standards. Anything short of this standards would therefore not be permitted.”

The Government called on all citizens to take advantage of the existing government facilities for rehabilitation of mentally challenged persons which it said is at very little or no cost to them.

Why I Flogged My Staff- MD of Bayelsa’s Glory FM

Mr John Idumange, the General Manager, Radio Bayelsa “Glory FM”, on Friday confirmed that he flogged four union leaders of the station in self-defence.

Idumange told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Yenagoa that the incident happened on Monday after the union leaders shut down the FM station operated by the state government.

The Radio Bayelsa Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union (RATTAWU) had alleged that Idumange was running the station outside public service rules.

Idumange, who explained the details of the incident to NAN, alleged that the unions in the station were working against his reforms aimed at repositioning the broadcast outfit.

“At about 7.20 p.m on Monday, the day RATTAWU and NUJ embarked on strike, I heard voices near my window.

“So I went out to see what was happening. I saw four persons, one of them a lady.

“I could recognise Tonye Yemoleigha, one of the union leaders, who was in white shirt. I asked why they were there after chasing away all the workers,” he said.

According to him, “Tonye stood up and asked if the compound belonged to me. At that point I discovered he was ready for a fight but I did not bulge.

“He brought his hands near my eyes so I blocked it. I had learnt Karate years back. One of them threw a chair at me and they all rushed to fight me. I had to fight back in self-defence.

“They could have beaten me up but my Karate skills rescued me,” he said.

Idumange, who was appointed on Dec. 6, 2016, claimed that he recently uncovered a N5.7 million fraud and redeployed some staff.

“The transferred workers have been meeting with them at NUJ Centre, they benefitted from the corruption and are fighting back,” Idumange said.

Reacting, Mr Tonye Yemoleigha, the NUJ Chairman in Radio Bayelsa, said that the unions had reported the incident at Ekeki Police Division.

“Four of us, myself and three staff were flogged by Idumange himself. The report that it was thugs is inaccurate. It was the general manager himself that attacked and beat us up.

“We have reported the matter to the Ekeki Police Division and sought medical attention at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa.

“Workers have been constantly intimidated and threatened for no just cause.

“Mr John Angese, Bayelsa Council Chairman of NUJ who is a staff of Radio Bayelsa, has also been threatened with a sack.

“We are all being victimised for insisting that the General Manager complies with Public Service Rules.

“We have been under siege since he was appointed on Dec. 6, 2016. We are not opposed to repositioning the station which is in our interest, but we want the procedure to follow due process,” Yemoleigha said.

NAN reports that after the station went off air, the management mobilised armed security men and few employees who rebuffed the strike and reopened the station.

Yemoleigha said that workers of the station were not opposed to staff redeployment.

“But we are insisting that the unions should also be part of the process to ensure that the best hands are not sacrificed on the altar of nepotism, sentiment or witch-hunt.

“We are also aware of the alleged N5 million payroll fraud which Idumange claimed to have uncovered which has been referred to the Police for investigation.

“Ordinarily, in line with established procedures, an investigative panel should have been instituted to look into the matter and come up with a report with which management would act.

“All these are expressly spelt out in the Public Service Rules; however, we are also requesting for a copy of the police report after their investigation,” Yemoleigha said.


FG Packages Bailout for Nigeria’s poultry Farmers

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is leading an urgent effort by the Federal Government to bailout poultry farmers now confronting various challenges.

The poultry industry has had to contend with a number of challenges including an outbreak of Avian Influenza which affected almost 4 million birds in 2015, non-allocation of Foreign Exchange for the importation of needed machinery and other critical inputs, and high production costs in the industry.

Prof. Osinbajo who had met with members of the Poultry Association of Nigeria last week Thursday, summoned another meeting today, where relevant ministers and agency heads came together to fashion out how to bail-out the industry.

“The poultry industry is a local industry that needs to be protected urgently,” the Acting President said at the meeting where specific measures were tabled and considered on how the FG can be of help.

He said the industry should be a major plank of the agriculture sector and asuch the Buhari administration will ensure that it gets help regarding the challenges being faced by operators of the sub-sector.

He added that by supporting the local industry, poultry related importation which is currently a drain on the country’s Foreign Exchange could be a thing of the past.

In his remarks, Dr. Ayoola Oduntan, who led the delegation of the Poultry Association of Nigeria to present industry challenges to the meeting, noted that poultry presently contributes 25% of the Agricultural Gross Domestic Product of the Nigerian economy amounting to N1.6Trn. He added that Nigeria is rated as the number one egg-producing nation in Africa, and number 4 poultry meat producer in the continent.

The FG is now in the process of concluding decisions on specific lines of action targeted at the challenges facing the industry, a sub-sector that is said to generate over 14 million direct and indirect jobs in the country.

Present at the meeting were the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, Agriculture & Rural Development Minister of State Heineken Lokpobiri, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali, rtd, and the Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.

Nigerians deported From Germany, Italy, Belgium

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the deportees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMlA), Lagos at about 8.40 p.m.

The deportees, who are all male, were brought back with a chartered Hifly aircraft with registration number CS-TQW, amidst tight security.

Alhaji Muhammad Sani Sidi, the Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), confirmed the development to NAN.

Nigerians deported from Germany, Italy, Belgium.

He said 33 of the deportees were from Italy, while the other seven and another three were deported from Germany and Italy, respectively.

Sidi, represented by by Dr Onimode Bandele, the Deputy Director, Search and Rescue, NEMA, said NEMA and other sister agencies were at the airport to receive the deportees.

“They were deported for committing various offences in their host countries and as you can see, our agencies are here to do the needful.

“As a responsible government, we cannot just leave our citizens to enter the country without giving them a good welcome and assisting them to get back to their families,” he said.

Sidi advised Nigerians to stay in the country and develop it together.

He said some stipends would be given to the deportees to facilitate their transportation to their various destinations.

NAN reports that other agencies that were at the airport to receive the deportees included officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigeria Immigration Service. (NAN)


Source: NAIJ.com

Senate Orders Banks, Others To Keep Abuja Clean

The Senate has directed banks and other corporate organisations operating within Abuja to henceforth sanitise and beautify the nation’s capital as part of their corporate social responsibility.

The idea, according to the senate committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is to also save public funds hitherto used in executing the task by the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).

Chairman of the committee, Senator Dino Melaye, who gave the hint during a press briefing by the committee at the National Assembly complex yesterday added that the plan also involved getting rid of destitute and miscreants from the capital city in order to have a federal capital that can be compared to others around the world.

Melaye hinted that the committee had last week summoned heads of all banks operating in the FCT to a meeting where issues of correcting and ameliorating the problems associated with environmental sanitation of the city were discussed.

He said, “We discovered that despite the fact that hundreds of millions from budgetary provisions of FCT annually paid to contractors for the maintenance of our street lights and the maintenance of all the streets and environment of Abuja is not yielding any positive result.

“So, the committee decided to invite these banks and in line with their corporate social responsibility to the federal capital city, their host community, that we are going to share all the major streets in Abuja to banks.

“These banks will now do the maintenance of street lights, will now be responsible for the environmental sanitation of all the streets, their beautification, and roundabouts where you have them. By so doing, they will also have the logo of their companies or their brands at least being advertised on the street lights”.

Melaye, who observed that the development was not a new trend across the globe, said it is believed that the policy will check wastage and help to block leakages.

“There have been several millions paid to contractors for the maintenance of street lights and keeping the environment tidy and clean. The funds will be saved and this can now go to the development of our satellite towns and provisions of infrastructural facilities in the suburbs of Abuja”, he added.

He further noted that the committee was appalled with the security situation in Abuja and uncomfortable as well with the number of hoodlums on the streets, among other miscreants.

“We have given a marching order to the Commissioner of Police and the Commandant of NSCDC. We have also instructed the FCT (minister) to provide logistics for the immediate evacuation of all dissidents and beggars, including those little boys who claim they are helping you to clean your glass and, by so doing, adding additional dirt to your cars”, the senator said.

Abuja Airport Closure: Ethopia Airlines To Fly Kaduna Route

The Ethiopian Airlines says it will fly Kaduna route with daily frequency with its Dream Liner aircraft during the six weeks closure period of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Mrs Firiehiwot Mekonnen, Traffic and Sales Manager of the Airline in Abuja, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Mekonnen spoke after a closed door meeting between the Minister of State, Aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika, and representatives of foreign airlines operating in the country in his office.
She said that the airline’s team of experts had inspected the airport, urging the Federal Government to address the areas of concern raised by the team in order to ensure smooth operation in Kaduna.

“Ethiopian airlines have been flying to Nigeria since independence and never suspend or reduce its flights since then rather we have increased our flight for both passenger and cargo.

“We have been here through thick and thin so we will always be here to support Nigerians.

“In this decision of closing Abuja airport, the airline stands by Nigerian government so we will fly to Kaduna with daily frequency with dream liner.

“And we hope the government will work on the Kaduna airport based on the remarks we gave during our inspection in order to help smooth operation,” she said.
Mekonnen also disclosed that the airline flew to four destinations in Nigeria, explaining that it flew Dream Liner aircraft to Abuja seven days a week and Boeing 777 to Lagos seven days a week.

“She added that the airline flew Kano and Enugu three and four times a week and sometimes up to 5 times a week depending on the season and scheduled cargo flights to each city.
According to her, in 2017 the airline is planning to open more new destinations, receive more new and modem aircraft and give a reliable safe air transport service to our esteemed passengers.

“As a successful pan African airline, we are helping to sustain Africa’s market by connecting the continent to the rest of the world,’’ she said.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had invited foreign airline operators to inspect the Kaduna International Airport ahead of the

March 8 closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja.
The Minister of State, Aviation, said that the Kaduna airport was fully ready to accommodate traffic diversion from Abuja between March 8 and April 9, when Abuja runway would undergo repair.

Uganda holds dozens of fleeing M23 rebels after Congo clashes

Uganda is holding dozens of fighters from the Movement of March (M23) rebel group who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after clashing with troops, the Ugandan military said on Friday.

Richard Karemire, Uganda’s military spokesperson said that 44 M23 fighters were being held at a camp in the southwestern town of Kisoro.

He rejected accusations made by DRC that Uganda was enabling the fighters to revive their insurgency.
“They fled and they are at a camp pending determination of their next destination,’’ he said.

M23, the largest of a number of rebel movements that have sown chaos and bloodshed in mineral-rich eastern Congo for years, once controlled swathes of territory there.

Hundreds of the group’s fighters, however, fled to Uganda in 2013 after a combined United Nations and Congolese force routed their rebellion.

Since November, authorities in Kinshasa have said Uganda was allowing M23 rebels to slip back into eastern Congo to re-launch their rebellion.

The latest fighting between the Congolese army, FARDC, and M23 rebels took place from Monday to Wednesday in Rutshuru territory in DRC’s North Kivu province, close to Bunagana, a town on the border with Uganda.

A DRC military official, Captain Guillaume Djike, said that Congo troops had killed 16 and captured five rebel fighters in the clashes.

He said they “succeeded in thwarting’’ the attack by the rebels who “came from Uganda and they returned from where they came.’’

Last month Uganda said it had intercepted dozens of rebel group members who were en route to Congo from a camp where they settled after their 2013 defeat.

Officials vowed not to let the fighters launch incursions into Congo from Uganda.

Karemire denied the rebels who staged this week’s assault had come from Uganda: “There’s no evidence those people came from Uganda we don’t export fighters to the DRC.’’

Rebel resurgence in eastern DRC is seen as another destabilising development for Congo, which has already been rocked by incumbent President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to leave office since his term expired in December.

More instability could spark a wider conflict in a multi-ethnic region that has seen decades of war.

Kabila’s government has told the United Nations that a re-emergence of the M23 rebellion would endanger a deal with the opposition intended to lead to a presidential election this year.


Source: PUNCH.NG