Tag Archive | "Abuja"

Contractor attempts suicide on telecoms mast •Over claimed N15m owed him by Atiku


Written by Tunde Oyesina,

A middle-aged man, Musa Inua, caused commotion on the premises of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, when he climbed a telecommunications firm mast with an intent to commit suicide over an alleged N15 million debt owed him by a former vice-president, Atiku Abubakar.

Dressed in a cream color kaftan, Inua, who claimed to be a contractor and an Adamawa native, had sauntered into the court premises at about noon, with a petition entitled: “I will not come down until I see Atiku,” which revealed his action as pre-meditated and demanded to see the chief judge of the court in order to lodge his petition against Atiku with him.

He was reportedly told by the officials of the court to drop the petition, an entreaty which he refused, before he was reportedly told to take it back to Adamawa which, according to the official, had original jurisdiction to handle his case.

With both sides not reaching any compromise on the demand, he simply stole away to the back of the court and, at exactly 1:43 p.m, he was sighted at the top of the mast installed right on the premises of the court, throwing the entire arena into a frenzy. following a suspicion that he could be a suicide bomber who wanted to detonate his explosive from the mast top.

For over three hours, Inua held everybody spell-bound. as he refused to come down from the mast until Atiku or the Inspector General of Police made an appearance and he got paid the debt he alleged Atiku incurred in a business transaction between them.

Speaking in Hausa language, Inua spurned all the promises of the security agencies, police officers and officials of the Fire Service and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), who had been alerted to the scene, saying it was IGP or nothing.

Ice thawed between the man on mast top and those persuading him when an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sunday Odukoya, got to the scene with a public address system and spoke to him in fluent Hausa language that the IGP was around to see him and an agreement already brought to facilitate the payment of the debt allegedly owed him by Atiku.

Odukoya’s megaphone took the message to Inua and he believed him.

Thinking that the IGP was already in the crowd, Inua made his way down, into the waiting arms of police officers, who arrested and took him away in a Hilux Van with registration number FG 568 BO.

Speaking with journalists, the Federal Capital Territory Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, said the police were taking the man away for investigation over the allegation he levelled against Atiku.

It was also learnt that his mental state would also be checked.

Atiku, reacting through his media aide, Garba Shehua, told the Nigerian Tribune that “we honestly suspect that this man is mental. Were it left to me, I will say that the man should simply be ignored. He will climb down when he gets tired of staying up there.”

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addressing poor planning of Nigerian cities, towns


  written by Stanley Opara

Nigeria is confronted with rapid urbanisation, high rural-urban migration and dearth of infrastructure to cope with the influx of people into the metropolitan areas. The reporter looks at the poor planning of Nigerian cities and towns, and the way forward.

According to the United Nations Agency for Human Settlement, about 56 million Nigerians, representing 70 per cent of the country’s urban population, currently live in slums.

The situation has been sustained over time because the culture of poor planning of town and city centres has continued unabated.

Good planning of Nigerian towns and cities, according to experts, is a strong pedestal on which rapid infrastructural development rests.

Good drainage systems, effective road networks and impeccable solid waste management system, among others, are tied to effective planning and organisation of the environment, especially in the urban centres.

In fact, some environmental and health experts argue that life expectancy in the country will rise reasonably if there is better planning of cities and towns.

Nigerian cities have continued to grow organically without provisions for social and infrastructural services, and this ugly trend is more pronounced around the periphery of most state capitals and the Federal Capital Territory.

The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners has said that it will partner the Federal Government to tackle the problem of slums across the country, which has thrived because of poor town planning.

Nigerians are, however, still waiting to see the result of the planned collaboration.

According to a former Chairman, NITP, Lagos State chapter, Mr. Moses Ogunleye, who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on Friday, most micro settlements can enjoy good planning within their confines as can be seen in some estates across the country.

He, however, said that the developers of such estates still had issues because they usually thought of the micro estate rather than the larger society, which had prevailing planning issues.

Ogunleye, who is also the Managing Partner, Beachland Resources Limited, organisers of the annual Lagos Housing Fair,, noted that roads and drainage channels, among other facilities, should be developed to promote integration of various settlements.

“Even when some of these settings are planned, some of the plans are not implemented. That is why we still see spots designed for the construction of a recreation centre or even schools being converted to residential buildings,” he explained.

Most major towns in Nigeria, according to him, do not have physical plans, while the few that have are not reviewed after their expiration.

Ogunleye said Lagos, Sokoto, Kaduna and Kano, among others, had expired plans; while Abuja’s had been altered severally.

Areas like Ekiti, Ibadan and Ilorin, he said, had no physical plans on the ground.

“Even the Federal Government does not have a plan, whether a master plan or a structure plan. Now, if you want to build anything, you can get a land and expect government’s approval. But for a state like Anambra, there is a step in the right direction as the government has succeeded in making plans for three major towns,” he explained.

The Beachland boss advised that with new administrations now in place in many states, the governments should strive to have composite development plans.

“These should be able to integrate what is on the ground and what is to come. With the plan, everything that makes a settlement to function will be embedded and there won’t be any need for ad-hoc plans,” he said.

Ogunleye maintained that with a proper plan in place, government would save itself the hassles of looking for places to build amenities, like the case with the nine universities that the government was planning to establish.

According to him, if there is a good plan, all the government needs to do is to spot the locations it wants from the plan and construction will commence immediately and there won’t be any need to start searching for space all over the country.

In the same vein, the Chairman, Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Mr. Gbenga Akintola, said the appalling state of most urban centres was being aggravated by the attitudes, actions and activities of people who lived in the urban centres.

He said indiscriminate disposal of solid waste and unlawful excavation of roads, among others, were capable of disrupting the status quo and making the environment unfit for living.

According to Akintola, the human element is a very critical factor in the bid to guarantee safer urban settlements.

He said that in the course of planning, various facilities were usually put in place and must be properly maintained and serviced.

The LSPWC boss noted that if people refused to take care of the facilities, they would deteriorate and disrupt any plan on the ground.

The President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Mr. Kabir Yari, said that the increase in the number of slums in major cities across the country was as a result of inadequate planning and poor infrastructure.

He also said cities and towns in Nigeria were growing very fast in an unplanned and informal way, and that the lack of adequate planning and poor infrastructure were the major causes of poor quality of life in Nigerian cities today.

This, according to him, has major implications on the competitiveness of Nigerian cities and their ability to support local economic development, as well as attract investors and Foreign Direct Investment.

Yari said there was the need for effective collaboration and cooperation between all members of the built environment to enable them to deliver functional, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable cities, towns and other human settlements for the country.

The Surveyors Council of Nigeria recently identified proper management of land as a key step towards ensuring the growth of the country’s economy and empowering the citizens.

The council also attributed the increasing number of slums in major cities across the country to poor planning of towns in the country.

With advancement in technology, built experts maintain that town planners should advocate modern land information system and the adoption of the Geographic Information System in all states of the federation in order to have easy access to maps and land information.

Most Nigerian cities are still grappling with the problem of poor planning, lack of good roads and dearth of infrastructure. Experts believe that the earlier this anomaly is corrected, the better it will be for the nation at large.

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Nigerian multi-millionare farmer that never went to School


written by Jibrin Abubakar

Mr. Isa Musa Yaro, 42, is a metaphor. His presence betrays his substance. From manicuring finger nails to manicuring about N400 million worth of farmland. The oddities around his life are amazing: He has no western education, no handicraft and no ‘silver spoon’ at birth. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Mr. Yaro indeed has a story to tell.

 


The self-made multi-millionaire is currently building a N75million irrigation dam in his 124-hectare farm located 32 kilometres away from Abuja and 18 kilometres to Keffi in Nasarawa State.

Though he is not a learned agriculturist, yet he knows his onions. Through experience, he knows the challenges and prospects of large scale farming.

Now he is planning to build primary, secondary and college of agriculture with special bias for livestock farming. His priority is to get as many women in livestock farming as possible. According to him, a family can survive on a special kind of milk producing cow. His slogan is ‘one woman, one cow.’ The youth would also receive same attention.  The preparation for the establishment of the school in the farm is already on course, he says.

“I am planning to build primary, secondary and college of agriculture in the farm. We are in contact with foreign experts who will bring in their expertise. I want these schools to help Nigerian women and youth,” he says.

After spending N15million trying to generate electricity, his hopes seem to have been dashed by government; his effort to also benefit from the much touted Commercial Agric Credit Scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria did not succeed.

As an employer, he says government needs to create the enabling environment for agriculture businesses to thrive.

A visit to the farm confirms its worth: It has a three hundred thousand capacity fish pond, which would be increased to five hundred thousand by December.  There are fifteen thousand chickens, mainly broilers, which he intends to grow to fifty thousand by year end. There is also the livestock section with a hundred and twenty cows and fifty sheep. Moringa plants (zogalai in Hausa) and pawpaw are also grown in large quantities.

Fielding questions from Daily Trust in his 124-hectare farm named Al-Gulam, he says the agriculture business is not for the lily-livered.  One needs time and patience, adding that he had to sack about 20 farm managers over misconduct.

After spending over a million naira for producing poultry feed, he has resorted to outsourcing that segment as it is not economically wise, given the high price of diesel to power both the machines and the power generators.

Speaking about himself, he says: “I am a villager from Malam madori Local Government of Jigawa State.  I only attended Makaratan Allo (informal Islamic school).  I came from a family of nine. I am the number four child. During the Buhari regime, I decided to travel to Kaduna from my village. When I came to Kaduna thinking of the work to do, I got a job in a bakery.  I was employed as a cart pusher.

“Then the factory stopped functioning. I went back to Kano. I was enrolled into an adult class. But in my life I have never attended a primary and secondary school. The adult education I started was very brief because I had to abandon it. From there, I took the decision to return to Kaduna where I started manicure business, cutting finger nails for people.  I used to trek around the whole of Kaduna. Later I decided to go to Lagos.”

Speaking about his travail in Lagos, he says: “I didn’t know anybody in Lagos. I just took that decision because I discovered that I had wasted the whole of my life with neither work nor money. I just wanted to leave the environment I was used to.  So from Kano, I bought a train ticket. I think it was around N18 then from Kano to Lagos. I was around 18-years old. Now I am 42. I was in the train when I peeped through the window and saw some people celebrating Sallah festival, then tears streamed down from my eyes because everyone was going back to their families but I was setting out, not knowing exactly where I was going to.

“The train arrived Lagos at around 11pm. I passed the night there and in the morning I decided to go to Allen Avenue. I didn’t know anybody there. I just heard people calling Allen Avenue and that was why I decided to go there. I was in the taxi when a saw a security man, who looks like a northerner. I then alighted and went to him. I asked him if he was Muhammad.

“I didn’t know anyone called Muhammad, I just asked him.  He now called one Shuwa Arab man who is from Maiduguri named Muhammad. When he came, he took my bag and we went in. He asked me where I was from. I told him I was from Kano. That time Kano and Jigawa were still together. He asked me who I was looking for. I told him I was looking for my brother called Muhammad from Hadeija. We searched but didn’t see him. He asked me if I could do a securityman’s work. I said yes but only at nights. My plan was to accept the night job so that I could do my manicure work in the afternoon.

“Then he told me the names of places. That day I made twenty naira. It was big money. I had never made that kind of money in Kaduna. I used to make about two naira only.  We ate two naira food that night. In the morning we spent another three naira. I saved the remaining fifteen naira. Then I went out again for my business. On my way,  I met some Hausa people who told me to go where the Hausa people are in Agege, and that I could make more money there. I was looking for the way to Agege.  Governor Raji Rasaki had just completed a new bridge around Ikeja. I passed through it. Then I sighted the airport. There I made forty naira. It was the biggest money I had ever made.

“I was called Yaro (boy) by everyone at the airport.   I was the smallest boy there that time.  That is why I named my companies Al-Gulam (boy) in Arabic because I only understand few words in English. Then our people from the North at the airport now took me to a man called Nelson Okay. He was a commercial manager. I paid N150 to the airport through him, then I was allowed to do my business without hindrance.  You also had to renew the licence every year.  That time I made big customers.
“There was a man who worked with FirstBank. He invited me to take up a messenger work and he said he was ready to sponsor me in school. I told him that my brother stopped me from going. Since I amd registered and licenced to do nail-cutting business at the airport, I always travelled  by air whenever I was going to Kano. The first time I gave my father some money, he rejected it, that until I am investigated to ascertain where I got it. He caused two people to follow me to Lagos to confirm where I was working. That was when my father started collecting my money.  Then I bought a house in my village and married. My wife died in 1993 after giving birth to a baby boy. Since then I stopped the manicure work at the airport and started working in the Bureau de Change segment of the airport.  I made many customers.
“Now I have houses in Lagos, Abuja and Kano. After the 1999 election, it was rumoured that Obasanjo died and there was tension here and there in Lagos. That was when I made up my mind to return to the North.  I returned to Abuja and built a house at zone 4. During the demolition exercise, the house was demolished but I got compensated.  In Abuja, I was also blessed with big customers in the foreign exchange business. I used to have a friend called Bala of blessed memory.  He helped me buy this land. The first part of the land cost me N4million. Right from 2003 I started buying farmlands. Now I have 124 hectares.”
According to him, he returned to farming because he wants to be an employer of labour, and through that contribute his part to the economic development of Nigeria.
“I turned to farming because I want to create jobs for my fellow youth. This is because I have tasted poverty and the experience is quite bitter. So it is against this backdrop that I am calling on government to find a way of economically empowering the youth.  I have 50 workers but we are expanding, therefore the workforce will grow to a 100 by December God willing.  We have fifteen thousand chickens, but by December we hope to have fifty thousand.  We have fish pond that can grow three hundred thousand fish and by December, we are increasing the capacity to five hundred thousand by God’s grace.  We also have 120 cows and 50 sheep for now,” he says.
Speaking about his several efforts, he says: “Because of the N300 million loan I applied for from the Federal Government, when the valuers came they put the value of the farm at N397,500,000 (million). That time I didn’t factor in the dam that is currently under construction. It is a N75 million dam that I am constructing. It would take care of irrigation.
“It was because of the dam that I applied for the loan even though I didn’t get it. Now I don’t need it. The dam will be completed by June God willing. As I said it is going to be for irrigation. Lack of dams for agric purposes is one of the problems we are facing in Nigeria. This should have been the role of government, creating the enabling environment.  The poor is not taught how to be a farmer and they are not supported.”
He says agriculture is a lucrative business. “Every three months, I make N5 million profit from 15,000 broilers. Within this period, I pay about N8 million in salary and poultry feed. That means the turnover is N13 million. Who will say there is no profit in farming? But the problem is lack of trust. And it all started from the leaders. We are calling on the government to quickly find a solution to the unemployment problem in the country. People should be made to farm. This is the only solution to insecurity in the country.
“There are some experts that are working for us on consultancy basis.  Then we have two Chinese experts who were here under the Nigeria-China transfer technology. But they have left for China. The consultants are employed on the basis of an agreement that they get 10 per cent of the profit, but if the chickens die, it is subtracted from his pay.”
He adds that he plants moringa, “which is medicinal as well as nutritious. We have pawpaw plantation. I intend to plant one hundred thousand units, and there are ten ears per unit. We are also planting water melon. We intend to start with three hundred thousand pieces of water melon every three months. We don’t go to the market. People come here to buy them. All you need to do is to provide the information. Big hotels and restaurants also come here to buy our chickens.”
Asked if he had approached government agencies for extension workers and other assistance, he says: “No I have not.  First and foremost, if you want government to help you in Nigeria then you must be hopeless. UN, EU, ECOWAS and government agencies have been here and they asked if I had secured a loan from banks, and I said no. As it is now, I expect to get N150million annually as soon as I finish the dam. With irrigation farming underway, I think the sky is our limit.”
Mr. Yaro also plans to add value to the chain of production by establishing a factory that would mop up excess fruits and tomato paste when the dam is completed.

 


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Govt bans Prostitution in Abuja


 Gives sex workers 2-day quit notice

Worried by the sharp increase in their activities, sex workers in the Federal Capital Territory have been given a 48-hour ultimatum by the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, to leave the nation’s capital or face the wrath of the law.

The minister, who decried the steady rise in the population of prostitutes in Abuja, noted that they constitute a nuisance as their services add no value to the beauty of the city.

He gave them a stern warning to heed the ultimatum, noting that the FCT Special Task Force would be out as from today to arrest them.

The minister, who issued the ultimatum through the FCT Secretary for Social Development, Mrs. Blessing Onuh, while on a visit to the call girls at their respective joints on Saturday night, also warned men who patronise the girls to desist from the act as he promised that anyone caught would be treated like the prostitutes.

He said that to drive home the importance of the assignment to the FCT, the Task Force would commence arrest from today and warned the prostitutes not to take the matter lightly.

At Emprest Hotel, “which is the headquarters” of the commercial sex workers in Wuse District, where over 600 call girls were seen parading the streets waiting for prospective customers, the secretary lamented that most of the girls involved were under-aged.

In her message to the girls she said, “I’m out to instruct the girls that the FCT minister has given them 48 hours to vacate the city and quit the job. They constitute a nuisance in the city and the FCT administration will not tolerate them.

“We are also sending warnings to all those men patronising them to stop. Some of the girls are under-aged; it is child abuse. If we get you doing that we will get you arrested, lock you up and treat you like the prostitutes are treated.”

A patron of the call girls who spoke to reporters under condition of anonymity gave reason why he patronised call girls, saying it was due to the weather which made it difficult for him to spend the night alone.

“As you can see, it is rainy season now, it is not good for a man to just go home and sleep alone,” he said.

The man argued that the ultimatum given to the girls would lead to an increase in the charges of the girls who presently charge between N5,000 and N7,000 per night.

He said, “This decision now will make them to increase their price. Normally we take them home for N6,000 or N7,000 but now with this decision, they will increase it to N15,000 or more than that.”

At the hotel, one of the girls who refused to give her name disclosed that she relocated to Abuja when the governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, demolished her apartment in Lagos. She however expressed her readiness to quit the job if given an alternative, lamenting that Emprest Hotel is like a sex camp where two prostitutes pair up in a room and pay N5,000 each daily while those who have more patronage take up a single room and pay N7,000 daily.

The secretary, after addressing the girls at Wuse Zone 4, made a donation of N50,000 to the girls after they complained to her that they had not eaten all day and she advised them to desist from selling their bodies for money but try to go into a more decent occupation.

Other places visited by the secretary where activities of sex workers thrive included Banex Plaza, Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 2, Rockview Hotel, Gimbiya Street, Area 11 and Agura Hotel.

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General Brutalises IG’s in- law at Abuja Airport


 A Nigerian resident in the United States, who was beaten by soldiers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja on Sunday has concluded arrangement to sue Jacob Olajide, a retired Brigadier General, who ordered his maltreatment.

He also plans to sue Arik Airline for complicity.

Uche Onyeanusi, brother in-law to the Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, was beaten into coma by two soldiers on alighting from Arik flight W3161 which he boarded in Lagos.

Onyeanusi told Daily Independent that disagreement broke out between him and Olajide where they queued along with other intending passengers to buy flight tickets at the Arik counter in Lagos.

Onyeanusi said he came to Nigeria to spend the holidays with his relatives and attend to other issues.

He narrated that he incurred the wrath of Olajide when he prevented him from jumping the queue, a challenge which led to an exchange of words between them, during which Olajide threatened to deal with him severely on their arrival in Abuja.

Onyeanusi said Olajide’s aides descended on him and gave him the beating of his life immediately he disembarked from the plane. Other passengers looked on in awe as he was being pummelled.

An eyewitness who was on the flight, Michael Ihemaguba, a medical practitioner also based in the U.S. (and an American citizen like Onyeanusi), said he was surprised that a policeman at the scene prevented him (Ihemaguba) and others from rescuing the victim.

He recounted that Onyeanusi ran into the office of the State Security Service (SSS) when he was pursued by the soldiers, but the door of the office was forced open by the soldiers as the lone female SSS operative in the office attempted shutting the door against them.

Ihemaguba said he and other passengers had to risk their lives to save him from being beaten to death, as they rushed and held the two soldiers when one of them took a bottle and was about to smash it on the head of Onyeanusi who lay on the ground bloodied and unconscious.

The soldiers took Olajide’s luggage and left the airport without anybody arresting them after Olajide had identified himself as a Brigadier General to airport security personnel.

The incident was caught on tape by the airport security, and was reported to the airport police.

Onyeanusi was revived by Ihemaguba and the airport medical team.

Arik employees who witnessed the incident made statements to the SSS before proceeding to the police station.

However, efforts by the police to unravel the true identity of the soldiers for prosecution are being impeded by Arik and the airport security, both of which refused to co-operate with the police officer investigating the case.

Arik reportedly told the officer that it is not bound by law to release its passenger manifest through which the name of Olajide could be ascertained.

The airport security also allegedly refused to release the video tape of the incident.

It was learnt that the military Commandant at the airport has been shown the tape and has identified the culprit but refused to disclose the true identity of Olajide.

After watching the tape, he told Onyeanusi and the police that the name of the General was wrong, but confirmed that the man is no longer in service .

Calls made to the commandant’s mobile telephone line were picked by his aide who said his boss was not available for comment.

It was learnt that the policeman investigating the case made an official application to the airport security to release the tape, but the request was denied.

Pressure is being mounted on Onyeanusi to drop the case as he was told to see some serving senior Army officers who are prepared to settle the matter amicably.

But he has refused to bulge, and stated his readiness to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion by getting a lawyer to sue Arik for failing to release the passenger manifest to the police.

He said he will also report the incident to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria.

However, Arik Spokesman, Banji Ola, argued that the airline should not be blamed because it did not have control over what happened on the tarmac.

He also said for security reasons, Arik cannot be compelled by individuals to release its passenger manifest.

In line with international standards, only the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) or the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) can compel an airline to release its passenger manifest, Ola explained

 Written by Rotimi Akinwumi

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