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FG closes Apapa-Oshodi road section for six weeks

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Motorists and other road users plying a section of Lagos road, Anthony to Gbagada, an extension of Apapa-Oshodi Expressway linking the Third Mainland Bridge, will not be able to use its service lane for six weeks with effect from Monday May 10, 2021.

A statement issued by the contractor handling the road project, Hitech Construction Company, on behalf of the FG and AG Dangote, said the period would be used for the construction of road concrete and walkways.

The statement read in part, “We intend closing the service lane from Anthony Pedestrian Bridge to Gbagada U-turn Bridge. This closure will begin on Monday 10th May, 2021.”

It stated that the six-week duration would be the minimum, adding that exact time needed would be “weather dependent”.

It gave the breakdown as two weeks for the preparation and four weeks for the concrete to cure.

The FG through the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, said last month that the whole road project, stretching Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki expressway, would be completed within 10 months.

Popoola made the disclosure during a joint inspection of the project, which mainly involves reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway in a bid to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock.

The project was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018.

It is divided into four sections, with section one spanning 10km from Liverpool Roundabout through Creek Road to Beachland near Sunrise.

Section two is approximately 8.4km and spans from Beachland to Cele Bus Stop.

Hitech Construction Company, one of the leading building and civil engineering contractors in Nigeria, is handling the project on behalf of the AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd.

The contractor agreed with the FG and Dangote for a three-week period from April 17 to complete the first section of the project.

Furthermore, Popoola had said that the contractor was expected to move to the site to start the construction work on section two of the project based on agreement.

He also revealed that work on sections three and four had reached an advanced stage, with over 70 per cent completion reached cumulatively.

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Ex-Minister escapes assassination as gunmen kill 2, abduct 4 in Cross River

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Gun-riddled vehicle of ex-Minister Usani Usani

For Usani Usani, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, it was a lucky escape on Saturday as gunmen suspected to be kidnappers rain bullets on his vehicle along the Calabar-Ikom highway of Cross River.

Usani, who is the governorship candidate of Peoples Redemption Party, PRP was reportedly to be on his way to his home town in Nko, Yakurr Local Government Area when he was attacked.

But while the ex-minister and his deputy who was with him were lucky, the gunmen killed two persons in another vehicle while three other persons were abducted.

The State Commissioner of Police, Sule Balarabe, who confirmed the news, said it occurred between the axis of Akamkpa and Biase Local Government Areas of the state at about 4pm on Friday.

He said it started when a white Ford with Registration number AAA 41 AQ was ambushed by the suspected kidnappers, killing the two yet-to-be identified victims.

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The Commissioner further said that three other persons were abducted in the process by the gunmen.

“The vehicle in which they killed two persons had seven occupants including two police officers, ASP Ibor Bassey and Insp. Ebro Ebri who escaped and called for reinforcement.

“A tactical Unit was immediately dispatched to the area and three persons have so far been rescued,” he stated.

Balarabe said that the rescued persons were members of the PRP who were traveling with the former Minister.

He solicited for support by way of useful information to the police from the communities along the Calabar-Ikom highway.

“We are appealing to all community leaders and traditional rulers to help security agencies by providing us with useful information through our dedicated lines.

“These criminals are not spirits, they are human beings who live amongst them, without useful and timely information, it will be very difficult to nip this nefarious activities in the bud,” he said.

Speaking on the attack, Media Aide to the former Minister, Mr David Agabi, said that they escaped by the whiskers.

According to him, “We were in a convoy, the gunmen started shooting at us around Betem in Biase, my principal’s driver sustained gunshot injuries while the vehicle was riddled with bullets.

NAN/PM
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Zulum threatens to revoke lands of banks hoarding new naira notes

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Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum

Following the alleged hoarding of the naira notes by the banks, the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, has directed banks in the state to dispense the new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and banking halls or risk losing their lands to the state government.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has also arrested bank officials in Dei Dei, Abuja, for hoarding cash.
Also, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced an investigation of Oluwadarasimi Omoseyin, an actress and cosmetologist, for allegedly tampering with the redesigned naira notes, an offence contrary to Section 21 (5) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, 2007.

This is coming as the Chairman of the Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has alleged that the scarcity of the naira could de-market the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue before it snowballs into crisis.
Zulum gave the warning yesterday after visiting branches of banks in Maiduguri, the state capital, to assess problems being faced by residents trying to access new naira notes.

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 “Any bank in Borno State unwilling to ensure their ATMs are fully dispensing new naira notes cash to ease the suffering of our people, we will withdraw their land title immediately. We will only spare Banks with verifiable constraints,” Zulum said.
He added that he was unhappy seeing hundreds of people queuing at a bank branch, with only one out of 10 ATMs dispensing cash.
“As you can see here, only the less-privileged people are queued up. I didn’t see rich people here. Many people are said to be here since 3:00 am; some could not even eat anything. The new naira note and even the old ones are not available, which is adversely affecting commercial activities in the state, and people are suffering,” the governor said.

He said further: “We just released salaries of about N5 billion, and the banks don’t have money; some of the ATMs are not working. We don’t have any problem with the CBN policy or the withdrawal limit, they said individuals could only withdraw N20,000, but why can’t everyone have access to that N20,000?” he queried.
“Yesterday, I was in Gubio with over 70,000 people, but it was impossible to source N100,000 in the entire local government, neither of the new or old notes. A ram worth N100,000 is now being sold for N35,000 because people are desperate for cash, and some wicked rich people are going to rural areas to exploit poor people,” Zulum explained.
The governor urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ensure the availability of new notes at commercial banks for people to access their money.
“Right now in Borno State, I have visited more than 10 ATMs, and there’s no cash,” Zulum said.

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Naira scarcity: Oyo youths, police clash, three killed

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Barely 24 hours after protest rocked Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of fuel and new naira notes, another group of youths, on Saturday staged a protest at Dogo community in Apata, Ido Local Government Area of the state, leading to the death of three persons.

It was gathered that the youths were assembling when security operatives arrived at the scene and asked them to disperse.

The directive by the security personnel led to an argument between them and the youths.

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A credible source told Sunday PUNCH that, “I cannot actually say what really happened. The youths assembled themselves and suddenly police and soldiers arrived in the area. Nobody knew what happened until one of them angrily shot into the air. People started scampering for safety.

“This action infuriated those youths, and they engaged security officers. The officers shot three people. One died immediately, the second guy died before getting to the hospital while the third person died at the hospital.”

Reacting to the unrest through a statement, the state Police Command said only one person was killed.

A statement authorised by the state Police Public Relations Officer, Adewale Osifeso, said, “Today (Saturday) at about 1015hrs, while embarking on series of confidence building patrols around different black spots and flash points, the joint convoy patrol comprising of the police and other agencies ran into a band of hoodlums around Apata junction market, Apata Area, under Ido Local Government Area.”

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