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Fire razes 600 shops, destroys goods in Anambra

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Fire has gutted over 600 shops at a market plaza on Kano Street, near the Main Market in the Onitsha area of Anambra State.

It was gathered that the fire, which started around 1am, was caused by a power surge from a cosmetic shop in the market.

The fire was said to have escalated to other adjoining shops due to the combustible nature of some of the materials and substances in the market.

As at 5.13pm when this report was filed, fire-fighters were seen battling the fire despite exhausting several tanks of water to salvage the situation.

A trader in the market, John Okonkwo, said goods worth billions of naira were destroyed by the fire which razed over 600 shops in the market.

He said, “The plaza belongs to importers and it is a line for all kinds of groceries, cosmetics, wines, provisions and at the moment, items worth several billions of naira have been destroyed by the fire.

“The fire started with two blocks of shops but later escalated to other shops and then the whole building. Over 600 shops were razed in that plaza.”

The state fire chief, Martin Agbili, said around 2.20am, the agency received a distress call of a fire outbreak at Kano Street behind the Main Market, Onitsha, and they deployed fire trucks and fire-fighters to the scene.

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Agbili said, “The cause of the fire was suspected to be a power surge which emanated from one of the cosmetics shops in the one-storey building.

“Due to the highly combustible nature of the materials and substances sold at that area, it contributed to the quick spread of the fire. The fire service was able to fight the fire to a standstill and no life was lost during the incident.”

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The state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, while reacting to the development, said the situation was under control.

Ikenga said, “The fire outbreak that occurred in the early hours of today at the Onitsha market is under control. There was no loss of life, although goods worth billions of naira have been destroyed.

“Preliminary information shows that the cause of the fire is as a result of electrical upsurge from a cosmetic store in the storey building. Our personnel are still there monitoring.

“The command wants to use this opportunity to advise members of the public to always turn off their appliances before leaving the house and offices.

”Reacting to the development, the state governor, Chukwuma Soludo, while commiserating with the owners of the affected shops, described the incident as unfortunate.

Soludo said, “I commiserate with the shop owners over the inferno. As a responsive government, we are already on top of the situation, investigating the remote and immediate causes of the fire, as well as the losses incurred with a view to averting a future recurrence of the disaster.

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“I encourage those affected to remain strong and resolute in the face of the extreme loss as we continue to work with relevant institutions to find lasting solutions to the perennial fire incidents across the state.”

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10 ways to ensure safe and healthy foods for family during economic hardship

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10 ways to ensure safe and healthy foods for family during economic hardship
• Foodstuff in Nigeria
Nigeria is currently grappling with a significant economic downturn characterised by spiraling inflation which has significantly impacted the purchasing power of Nigerians.

The economic hardship has made it tough for many families to provide healthy food for their loved ones with protests against hunger now a constant news item in recent times.

However, with some planning, resourcefulness, and creativity, you can provide healthy meals without breaking the bank. Here are 10 ways to help you navigate these difficult times:

1.     Planning and prioritisation: This is the period to plan meals. It helps you avoid impulse purchases and food waste. You can also create a tracker to understand your baseline and set a limit you can comfortably stick to.

2.     Be friends with your local farmers’ market: Look for deals at the end of the day and consider “ugly” produce that’s perfectly edible. Seasonal options are often cheaper and fresher. You can also join a buying group to purchase larger quantities of seasonal produce at wholesale prices, benefiting from economies of scale.

3.     Master one-pot meals: “One-pot” meals like jollof rice, beans, and plantain, or yam pottage are affordable, filling, and packed with nutrients. Cook them more.

4.     No to leftovers: Transform leftover food into other delicacies. Leftover rice could be transformed into fried rice while leftover vegetables can be used in soups.

5.     Shop smart: Instead of shopping from one place, you can compare prices across different markets to find the best deals. You can also explore options like buying directly from local farmers or patronising smaller stores that may offer competitive prices.

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6.     Maximize savings: Learn effective storage techniques for different food items to extend their shelf life and prevent spoilage. To avoid wastage, cook only what you can consume at once.

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7.     Grow your food: You can also some food like vegetables, and even peppers on your balcony for a constant supply of fresh produce. If space is limited, consider joining a community garden to access shared resources and learn from experienced gardeners.

8.     Eat healthy as a family: Involve other family members in meal planning, You can discuss budget limitations and encourage their input on healthy and affordable meal options.

9.     Limit processed foods: They are often high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and added sugar, offering little nutritional value and can drain your budget. You can opt for brown rice, over refined white options for sustained energy and fiber.

10.  Eat more vegetables: Many local vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, offering a budget-friendly and nutritious alternative to imported options.

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Obi is not leaving Labour Party

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Obi is not leaving Labour Party
• Peter Obi 
The Peter Obi Media Reach (POMR) has said that its Principal, the Labour Party (LP) Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, is not quiting the party.

POMR, in a press statement on Friday, February 23, 2024 signed by its media aide, Michael Jude Nwolisa, dismissed trending news about Obi quitting the Labour party, adding that the “fake and fallacious news” emanated from mischief makers bent on destroying and disorganising the party.

“The Peter Obi Media Reach, POMR wishes to outrightly dismiss trending fake and fallacious news story suggesting that he was parting ways with the Labour Party.

“This is not true and it did not originate from Obi or the Obidient Movement but from mischief makers bent on sowing the seed of discord in the party.

“These rising misdemeanors on the party did not start today as they set out to destroy and disorganize the party all to get at Obi and derail the inevitable journey of rescuing Nigeria,” Nwolisa wrote.

He however said that Obi, on his part, is currently busy with making Nigeria work and focusing on creating an environment where democracy will thrive, adding that “the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the criminal gangs holding it down will not stop until it’s achieved through the will of the Nigerian people.”

The statement continues: “Presently our principal is preoccupied with making Nigeria work not on partisan politics which ended on October 26, 2023, when the Supreme Court of the land took their final decision on the general elections.

“Those bent on creating a crisis in the Labour Party are clearly enemies of democracy wishing for the failed status quo to remain.

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“Obi’s focus at the moment is on creating an environment where democracy is to be practiced according to the defined tenets not the rascality and all forms of impunity prevalent in the country today.

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“Peter Obi therefore would like to assure Nigerians, particularly the Obidient family that his way with Labour is unshaken and intact and that the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the criminal gangs holding it down will not stop until it’s achieved through the will of the Nigerian people,” he added.

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Ex-NBA President Akpata wins LP Gov primary for Edo

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Ex-NBA President Akpata wins LP Gov primary for Edo
 • Olumide Akpata
A former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Olumide Akpata has clinched the Labour Party (LP) ticket for the September 2024 governorship election in Edo State.

Akpata scored 316 votes to win the exercise held in Benin City, the Edo State capital, on Friday.

The Deputy Governor of Abia State Ikechukwu Emeta declared Akpata as the winner of the election.

“I hereby declare as follows: Mr Olumide Osaigbovo Akpata, having scored the highest number of votes and certified the provisions of the constitution of the party, is hereby declared the winner and the gubernatorial candidate of the Labour Party for the Edo State governorship election 2024,” Emeta who is also the chief returning officer for the election said.

After his emergence, Akpata paid tribute to a former governor of Ondo State and NBA president Rotimi Akeredolu who was buried on the same day.

He also thanked his supporters and members of the party for their backing, promising to work for the good of the state if he wins the governorship election.

His victory comes months after he declared interest in the Edo State governorship race under the Labour Party.

In October,  he had visited the Edo LP secretariat in Benin City to formally declare his interest in the race, pinning the decision on his love for the people.

“My interest is for the people of Edo State. And what I find out about politics and governance in Nigeria today is that the people have been taken out of the equation. Nobody cares about the people,” Akpata told the mammoth crowd that welcomed him.

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“So, when I look around, the only party I find to be people-oriented and interested in lots of our people is the Labour Party. So I have come here to express my interest and to carry the people along.”

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In August, the corporate lawyer, 51, resigned from the law firm Templars where he served as a senior partner.

“The Partners and management of TEMPLARS wish to announce that a Senior Partner at the Firm and the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olumide Akpata, has formally informed the Firm of his decision to participate in active politics,” the firm said in a statement.

“On account of this, and in line with the Firm’s governance protocols, Olumide Akpata and the Partners of the Firm have agreed that he disengages from the Firm with effect from 31st August 2023. This will enable him to fully focus on his project of contributing towards nation building.”

That same month, Akpata joined the LP, saying he wanted to play a more active part in the country’s political process.

“This was a major step for me and not one that I took lightly…but I simply got tired of complaining about Nigeria every day and bemoaning her fate and I decided to take the plunge and try to be part of the solution rather than agonising continually over the problem,” he said.

“This, for me, is the start of a very important journey and it is my prayer that I arrive safely at my destination.”

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