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North safest place for Igbos – Ohanaeze

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The Igbo apex socio-cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has said northern Nigeria remains one of the safest places for Igbos to live in and do their business.

Chairman of the group in the 19 northern states, Augustine Amaechi, stated that the region had accommodated Igbos beyond measures, saying that accounted for their prosperity.

Amaechi, who spoke in Abuja, while acknowledging that there had been some skirmishes with their host communities, noted that they were unavoidable as “it is expected in a developing economy.”

On the call for secession in the South-East, he said the agitation was due to lack of jobs in the region, stressing that since Igbos are traders, they would need the North to maintain their financial strength.

“Our elders are saying that even if the youth are agitating and angry, we need a restructure of Nigeria and not a division of Nigeria because you can’t sell what you produce in your village to make big sales like in Alaba Market in Lagos.”

President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, George Obiozor, stated that Igbo nation is not at war with anybody.

He said, “All we want is to be treated equally with other people. It is time for us to speak truth to power. We need peace and unity and they can’t be gotten through propaganda and transparency must be followed.”

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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