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Upswing For Better Life Initiative, trains, empowers 31 Egede indigenes



By Chuks Nweze, Enugu

A Non-Governmental organisation, NGO, Upswing for Better Life Initiative, an offshoot of a New York State, a non profit corporation, “Better Life Initiative Inc, has trained and empowered 31 indigenes of Egede, Udi local government area of Enugu State with cash and equipment worth over N500,000.

The training was for both old and young who were willing to under the seven month tuition-free training on Skin Care products making, Shoe making and Catering.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the 31 graduands made up 14 for Skin Care products; 10 for pasteries, bread and cake making and 7 for Shoe making, at Egede on Thursday, the Director of Upswing for Better Life Initiative, Barr. Bibian Obiageli Agada, disclosed that they started the training with 41 but others dropped on the way leaving only 31.

“This journey started on February 3, 2022, when we selected 41 people for the training programme in Skin Care products, pasteries and shoe making. The training did not start until the 18th of February as we had to renovate the building granted us for use free of charge by the Late Mr. Ben Ekwueme,” she disclosed.

According to Agada, in spite of some challenges, the training went on and has produced people who can now be their own bosses having undergone the training.

She said that in addition to giving the graduands certificates, they would be give equipment and cash with which to start up their own business which in the long run would make them to train others in due course.

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“Upswing for Better Life Initiative will therefore strengthen their empowerment by giving interest free loan in materials and cash, to the 25 that applied for loan. Each of the Shoe makers will get a sewing machine and filling machine. Each of the 10 of the skin care products will receive a table cutter, 25 litre of palm kernel oil and 12.5kg of caustic soda.

“A skin care producers will receive interested in producing black soap, will receive a mortar, pestle and necessaries for the said production. 6 budding bakers will get an oven and a gas cylinder each. All the 25 enterprenuers have received additional N30,000 each, which had already been transferred to their respective accounts,” she disclosed.

A guest speaker at the occasion, Mr. Chukwuma Ephraim Okenwa, CEO, Queens Model Group of Schools, Enugu, expressed deep appreciation for the Director, Barr. Agada, saying that she is doing what most politicians would not do for the constituents.

Okenwa said that skill acquisition is very vital to the society because it makes people to be busy and productive saying that “a lazy mind is a devil’s workshop,” hence the need that people acquire skills to be self-reliant.

He especially expressed delight that after training the indigenes, they are still given start up for enterprenuers.

Okenwa urged the graduands to good use of the equipment they were given for it’s multiplier effect which is not only to be busy but be employers of labour.

“Don’t underrate small beginning. Make good use of the equipment you were given to grow in life,” he charged urging them that for no reason should they missuse or sell the equipment which is their capital for growth.

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Okenwa noted that by giving them equipment and cash, they have thus been ‘given hooks to fish instead of being given fish.’

Highlights of the occasion was the presentation of certificates and the equipment to the graduands.

More photos from the event:

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PDP demands probe of Supreme Court fire disaster



The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) has demanded a thorough investigation into the fire incident that gutted a section of the Supreme Court in the early hours of Monday.

The party raised the alarm over the incident which it described as suspicious giving the fact that a verdict on a sensitive issue of national importance is being expected.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba made the position of the opposition party on the fire incident known in a statement on Monday.

He said, “The PDP is worried over the fire outbreak especially given heightened public apprehension of possible arsonist attack with the intent to cripple and frustrate the Supreme Court from effectively discharging its constitutional duties especially with regard to high profile electoral cases including the Presidential Election Appeals pending before it.

“Our Party demands for an immediate full-scale investigation into the fire outbreak with the view to unraveling the circumstances or possible sabotage in the incident.

“The PDP insists that the outcome of the investigation should be made public unlike those of previous fire incidents in various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies which were characteristically swept under the carpet by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administrations.

“While calling on the Federal Government to beef up security around the Supreme Court, the PDP also demands that Nigerians must be assured of the safety of sensitive documents and equipment at the Court especially at this critical time.”

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Gov. Mbah tasks FG on New Road Maintenance Model as bridge collapses along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway



Gov Peter Mbah (centre) and some government officials during inspection of the collapsed bridge in Enugu on Monday

…urges FG to concession roads to states

Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has called for a new road maintenance model to guarantee a better condition and longevity of Nigerians roads, regretting that the current model had failed woefully.

Dr. Mbah made the call when he visited the site of the collapsed bridge between the New Artisan flyover and the NNPC Mega Station along the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway.

The collapsed bridge

Fielding questions from newsmen after the first-hand inspection of the scene of the disaster, Mbah who thanked God that no life was lost despite the magnitude of the incident, urged the federal government to consider a concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments for proper maintenance in conjunction with the private sector.

“I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not; and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.

“Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. We are fortunate enough that no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.

“The bridge collapse didn’t just happen. These threats could have been identified if we had routine or regular maintenance.

“Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states need to take charge of the roads within their domains and there has to be a conversation around the funding models”.

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Gov Mbah (R) inspecting the collapsed New Artisan Enugu bridge that collapsed on Monday

The said bridge collapsed on Monday, leaving commuters stranded.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Gerald Otiji, government has advised commuters to use Nza Street through New Haven or ply Ogui Road and Abakaliki Road to their various destinations, while the authorities come up with measures for immediate repair on the failed section of the bridge.

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Flyover bridge collapses in Enugu, no casualty



The collapsed flyover bridge in Enugu
The flyover bridge across the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway at the Enugu New Artisan market in Enugu state capital has collapsed.

The bridge collapsed Monday morning but an eyewitness said there was no casualty as artisans and residents were yet to come out from their homes for the day’s activity.

The eyewitness, an Auto Mechanic who identified himself as Nnamdi, told The Advocate that two lorries conveying goods which were on the bridge when the incident occurred were affected.

According to him, drivers and conductors of the two lorries, however, escaped unhurt.

The Advocate observed that one lane of the Enugu – Port Harcourt dual-carriage way had been blocked by the debris of the collapsed bridge forcing motorists playing the expressway to divert through alternative routes to continue their journey.

Security operatives, officials of the Federal and Enugu State Ministries of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were sighted within the area to access the situation as well as to assist the road users plying the alternative routes.

Residents of Goshen Estate, Premier Layout, worshippers at the Dunamis Church and traders at the New Artisan market who are regular users of the bridge are likely to encounter serious traffic gridlock on account of the collapsed bridge, if an alternative route is not created as a matter of urgency.

The state government has yet to speak on the development by press time.

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