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Anxiety over fresh kidnappers’, bandits’ attacks in Abuja, Kaduna

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Anxiety over fresh kidnappers’, bandits’ attacks in Abuja, Kaduna
• Some of the suspects paraded on Saturday, January 20, 2024

Security onslaught on terrorism raged across the country yesterday with the police deploying the newly launched Special Intervention Squad (SIS) in the bush of Bwari, Abuja where kidnappers have been making life unbearable for residents.

The security personnel are combing the bush to flush out the bandits and destroy their habitat.

They have already taken over a route in Ushafa, Bwari Area Council allegedly used by bandits to move their victims from Abuja into neighbouring states of Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi.

Sixteen men linked with terrorism in the FCT and other parts of the country have similarly been arrested and were paraded yesterday by the police in Abuja.

However, another gang succeeded in killing a secondary school principal at Kuriga, Chikun Local Government area of Kaduna State while yet another group abducted an FCT resident while he was driving home with his wife on Friday.

Three of the suspects paraded in Abuja — Idris Ishaku, Dahiru Salisu and Bala Umar — were arrested by the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) following the launch of the Special Intervention Squad (SIS) by Police Inspector General Kayode Egbetokun.

The suspects, who claimed to be working as farmers and security guards in Bwari, said they used the opportunity of their job as security guards to monitor the activities of residents, especially the rich ones.

Information gathered by them would then be passed to the gang for appropriate use in kidnapping or robbery.

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The trio said they got paid after each operation.

One of those paraded yesterday was the alleged kidnapper Chinaza Phillip who was caught in the act on Thursday by the Kaduna State Police Command.

He was handed over to the Abuja Police Command on Friday.

He appeared on a stretcher yesterday.

The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, told reporters that the SIS foiled “another kidnap plot through technical intelligence.”

Involved in the attempt were Ishaku Salisu and Umar.

He said the police recovered from the suspects various weapons.

He said: “In a proactive move, following a report on the abduction of a victim from his house along with his Hilux van with Reg. No. RBC 90 DL, gray colour, by four armed men who disguised in a white Mercedes Benz 230 car, police operatives in an intelligence propelled investigation discovered that the victim was being taken to Kano State, but was dispossessed of his ATM cards in Kaduna while the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) was transferred from his account.

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“The suspects however ran out of luck as they were intercepted by Police operatives at a filling station in Kaduna where three of them escaped, while one by the name Chinaza Philip Okoye Michael was arrested, the victim rescued unhurt, and the said Hilux Van recovered.

“It was discovered that Chinaza Philip Okoye Michael and his accomplices had earlier been arrested sometime in November 2023 and charged for similar offences, at the High Court, Kwali, Abuja, but went back to committing even worse crimes while on court bail.

“Also, operatives of the DFI-IRT office intercepted one Everest Magaji, a gunrunner, during negotiation with some notorious bandits who are currently at large, for the purchase and supply of illicit firearms and ammunition. Eleven (11) Pistols, and Two (2) Pump Action Guns were recovered from the suspect.”

Continuing, Adejobi said: “I am proud to announce to you today that the result of our relentless efforts in fighting crime is surely paying off.

“In today’s parade of suspects, we have a total of 16 suspects arrested by the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) and the Anti-Violence Crime section of the FCT. The anti- kidnapping section of the FCT has arrested some suspects.

“Those suspects have all given their confessional statements and are still providing our operatives with more relevant information to help in their operation of other criminals and to further tackle crimes and criminality.

“We have also recovered a total of five AK 47 guns, 11 pistols, two pump action guns, one English made pistol, and 65 rounds of 7.62mm of live ammunition that were used for AK 47, seven rounds of 9mm live ammunition for pistol from the apprehended suspects which will serve as evidence for prosecution of these various cases.

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“It is important to us to know that immediately after the IGP launched the Special Intervention Squad (SIS) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), these achievements started rolling in.”

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On Ishaku, Salisu and Umar, the PPRO said they were arrested on Tuesday after the commander “received intelligence that a GSM number under surveillance belonging to one Idris Isiaku a.k.a. Yellow made a call to another number, informing the recipient of the call on his plans to carry out a kidnapping operation at Degiem House, and further stated that he had invited some other kidnapping gangs who had promised to execute the mission with him.

“On the 16 January, 2024, Idris Isiaku held another GSM belonging to another who was later identified as Dogo and informed him that the civil servant in their captivity is a very wealthy man and should not be let go for any sum less than N50 million.

“He further stated that he was still monitoring one other person (name withheld for security reasons) located in Niger State.”

He said investigation so far has shown that the trio was involved in several kidnapping activities in the FCT including some that occurred in the Bwari axis.

He said the police were intensifying efforts to rescue the hostages in their captivity and make sure that other members of the gang are apprehended immediately.

“I want to say that with these ones with us, we are going to heave a sigh of relief in the FCT.”

Idris told reporters that he was lured into kidnapping by love of money.

He confessed to have taken part in two operations.

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His words: “I am 27 years and I live in Bwari. I am not married. I am a farmer, I work as a security, and money made me join kidnapping business.

“I have joined in two kidnap operations. Last year, I joined another operation. The first operation of Kuchiko in Bwari, I collected N600,000. Then the second operation, I collected N500,000 around Bwari area.

“I don’t handle guns, but I work with the people that use guns during operations. I am an informant .”

Salisu said: “I stay in Bwari. I am the supervisor of the camp where these kidnappers come and hold their meetings before they go out for operations.”

Reporters were later taken to Bwari where the SIS was combing the bush to fish out kidnappers.

Police take over kidnappers’ Abuja route, arrest own men for kidnapping, extorting of $3000 from victim

The SIS Commander, Police Commissioner Ben Igwe, told reporters that the squad had taken over a route in Ushafa, Bwari Area Council allegedly used by kidnappers to move their victims out of Abuja into Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi states.

“This route where we are is the bandits’ route. From Oshafa here, they’ll move through this route and go to Pappe, from Pappe they’ll enter areas like Maitama or Asokoro,” he said.

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“So, when they pick someone, this is the route they pass through. If they pick someone from Maitama or Asokoro or Pappe, they’ll go towards the back of Pappe. From this position that we are, if you move forward, you’ll be surprised how we’ll descend into Maitama.

“This is their route. What we have done now is to deploy a lot of intelligence on this route because we have a lot of intelligence at our disposal. This is one of their major routes. We are inside their route now.”

He assured residents of FCT that the police were doing everything possible to dislodge the kidnappers.

Igwe called for the cooperation of Bwari residents to further achieve positive and needed result.

In a curious development, the Rivers State Police Command confirmed that it had arrested some of its personnel for allegedly kidnapping a man in neighbouring Abia State and extorting $3,000 from him.

The suspects were alleged to have moved their victim to Rivers and Bayelsa states through Ughelli, Delta State after arresting him.

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They later abandoned him in Port Harcourt after collecting the money from him.

Spokesperson for the Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the incident, saying the matter was under investigation.

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Iringe-Koko, in a statement titled “Re: $3000 USDT Transferred to Police Officers WALLET”, said: “The Police personnel have been identified and arrested while the investigation is in progress.

“The outcome will be made public as soon as it is concluded.

 Activities of informants undermining war against banditry in Katsina, says CP

 Assessing the war against banditry in Katsina State, Police Commissioner Aliyu Musa said the major challenge for him and his men was the increasing activities of informants who were supplying intelligence to criminals.

Musa, speaking during an interactive session with journalists in Katsina, said the situation was undermining police efforts

 “The activities of informants are our major challenge,” he said.

He added: ’’Whenever we planned an operation, the bandits would have already been informed about our coming, and they would have taken measures to shield themselves on our approach.”

He said despite this development, the police “are making progress in the war against banditry and other associated crimes, because we have the capacity to defeat them.”

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He said 369 rapists, 258 armed robbers and 64 kidnappers were arrested by the command last year.

He also stated that the efforts of its operatives led to the safe rescue of 171 individuals who had been abducted

He said ’’a total of 1,627 suspects were apprehended in connection with 938 reported major cases. Of these, 395 cases have been taken to court and are currently undergoing prosecution in competent courts across the state.

“Furthermore, a total of 495 suspects were arrested for a variety of other offences’’.

Bandits kill school principal, abduct wife, son in Kaduna

Killed at Kuriga, Kaduna State by gunmen on Friday was Malam Idris Abu Sufyan after he put up resistance against attack on his family.

The bandits had stormed the late Sufyan’s residence in the community on the Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highway with a view to abducting his wife and baby.

It was gathered that the deceased resisted the action of the gunmen who turned their guns on him.

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He died on the spot.

The terrorists still abducted their targets.

Sufyan was, until his death, principal of Government Secondary School (GSS) Kuriga.

The Kaduna State Police Command could not confirm the incident at press time. The Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mansir Hassan, told The Nation that he would make enquiry and get back to our correspondent.

However, Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly, said on his verified X handle that the bandits “succeeded in kidnapping two women.”

 He said: “Mallam Idris Abu Sufyan, Principal GSS Kuriga, Chikun LG, Kaduna State was killed by bandits when he tried to resist abduction.

“They succeeded in kidnapping two women in the process. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.”

A resident of the village, Aliyu Kuriga, said the late principal was attacked in his house on Friday night and was shot before his wife and son were taken away by the bandits.

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Gunmen abduct man driving home with wife in Abuja

 Gunmen also abducted one Abdullahi Sabo, a resident of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while he was driving home with his wife on Friday.

 The gunmen Intercepted Sabo’s vehicle at Sabon-Lugbe on the Abuja Airport Road.

The victim was driving in his grey Lexus SUV with registration number ABC 769 TP when the gunmen struck.

They opened fire on Sabo’s vehicle and deflated the tyres of the car.

 This incident occurred less than 48 hours after gunmen invaded the Army Estate in Kurudu in Abuja, and abducted some residents.

All efforts to get the reaction of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Public Relations Officer, SP Josephine Adeh, yesterday were futile as calls and text messages to her phone went unanswered.

Two kidnapped in Oyo community

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The wave of kidnapping has spread to Oyo State where the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) confirmed yesterday the abduction of two persons.

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The NSCDC said the two victims were kidnapped at Out in Itesiwaju Local Government Area of the state.

The victims were identified as Dayo Olayanju and one Mrs Obasola, whose husband, Kehinde, was said to have escaped with gunshot wounds.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) quoted spokesman of the corps Samuel Opabiyi as saying: “Yes, it is true.”

 Opabiyi said the police had taken over the investigation because “it falls under their purview.”

 A community leader in the local government area, who preferred anonymity, said the incident happened in the early hours of Saturday.

“They were kidnapped in different areas. One was kidnapped on Okeho Road.

“I have confirmed it. Two people were kidnapped, but we don’t know where they have been taken to as at now,” the community leader said

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However, efforts to get the reaction of the Police Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in the state, Adewale Osifeso, yielded no result as calls put through to his telephone line were not answered as at the time of filing this report.

Army Estate kidnappers demand N30 million ransom

It was gathered yesterday that the brains behind the Army Estate kidnap have demanded N30 million as ransom to release the wife of Barrister Cyril Adikwu and his two in-laws kidnapped.

Adikwu, who had escaped while the kidnappers stormed his residence in the estate, said he was in communication with the kidnappers and they had demanded that the ransom be paid within a time frame.

He said: “It all happened on Thursday night at about 10 pm when a vehicle containing those who were kidnapped drove into my compound, and then all of a sudden, the kidnappers followed the vehicle into my compound.

“I was upstairs and heard strange sounds, so I peeped through the burglary door upstairs and saw one of the people kidnapped on the floor. I asked what was going on there, and she said, ‘I don’t know. These men are asking me to go down.’ Then it occurred to me they were kidnappers.

“Then I started screaming ‘Kidnappers! Help! On top of my voice. At this point, they started shooting at me upstairs. I was able to escape and they started shooting guns in the air while they took the three of them away.

“There were about eight of them, and they walked through the bush path over the hill to the other side.

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“Not up to 40 minutes later, I was called to provide a ransom. I don’t want to mention the amount because already false information is everywhere in the media about the whole incident. But I can assure you it’s more than N30 million.

“I am traumatised right now after the whole incident, and the kidnappers have been calling me and have given me a time frame.”

Police raid criminals’ hideout in Enugu, arrest 3, recover firearms

 The police on Friday raided a criminals’ hideout at Centenary City, Enugu and arrested three armed suspects.

Other gang members however fled the scene before they could be arrested.

Police spokesman in Enugu State, DSP Daniel Ndukwe, stated on Saturday that police recovered eight pump action guns, four live and 26 expended cartridges at the scene.

He added that police also recovered one machete, four units of solar-powered CCTV cameras, 13 GSM phones, one DVD player, four bags, clothes and objects suspected to be charms from the hideout.

“Preliminary investigation showed that the criminal elements had been using the hideout for the design and perfection of armed robbery and kidnapping, among other crimes.

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“The suspects shall be arraigned at the conclusion of investigations,’’ Ndukwe stated.

Police in the state also enjoined residents to remain law-abiding, vigilant and to continue to give credible and actionable security information to the police.

Such reports could be lodged through telephone numbers: 080320 03702, 08075390883, 08086671202, or 080988 80172, or to infoenugupolice@ gmail.com, Ndukwe stated.

The Nation

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North Central Development Commission establishment bill passes 2nd reading in Senate

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JUST IN: Nigerian senators donate one month salaries to survivors of Kaduna bombing
The Nigerian senate

The bill seeking the establishment of North Central Development Commission (NCDC), being sponsored by the Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District and Senate Minority Leader, Comrade Abba Moro and co-sponsored by all the senators from North Central, on Wednesday, passed Second Reading on the floor of the senate.

The bill, which passed First Reading on the 5th of October, 2023, was first sponsored in the 9th Senate by Senator Moro where it passed First and Second Readings but could not get presidential assent before the expiration of the 9th Senate.

In his lead debate, the Senate Minority Leader said the Commission, when established would be saddled with the responsibility of receiving and managing funds from the federal government and donors for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of roads, houses and business premises of victims of flood and farmers/herders clashes, communal clashes, construction of large format drainage systems, dredging of rivers Niger and Benue to control flood and incidental matters, as well as tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy and other related environmental or developmental challenges facing the North Central Nigeria.

The Lead debate reads;

“Mr. President, Distinguished colleagues.

“May I humbly seek your leave to lead the debate on this very important Bill.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, the North Central Zone of Nigeria, in no particular order, comprises the following geopolitical States of the Federation; Kogi, Niger, Benue, Kwara, Plateau, Nasarawa and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

“Over the past years, Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, the North Central Zone of Nigeria has been devastated and left in bollix by the noxious antics of terrorists, incidents of flood and erosion, insurgency, kidnapping, herder/farmer clashes, poverty, high rate of illiteracy, to mention but a few.

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“The Zone is blessed with several mineral resources that can boost the economy of Nigeria if properly harnessed. However, because of the breeding aforementioned, the North Central Zone is handicapped and cannot do much in this regard.

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“May I mention here, Mr. President, that the North Central Zone of Nigeria hosts two of West Africa’s great rivers;(a) The River Niger and (b) The River Benue, which flows into Nigeria from The Republic of Cameroon. The two rivers meet in North central Nigeria and flow as one river on to the Atlantic Ocean. However, the presence of these two rivers has made flood a perennial challenge in the region with increasing intensity every year, leaving not just the North Central Zone but the entire Country with great losses and trauma.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, according to statistics from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, In 2012 and very recently, devastating flooding forced two million Nigerians from their homes and over 363 people died in Plateau, Benue, Niger, Nasarawa and Kogi states.

“Between 2016 and 2023, more than 92,000 people were displaced and over 578 died from incidents of flood in Benue, Kogi, Niger and Nasarawa States, and other parts of Nigeria.

“Annually, Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmlands are damaged in the North Central Zone of Nigeria where the people are largely agrarian as a result of flood, and this happens, Mr. President, whenever there is a heavy precipitation upstream on the Benue and Niger Rivers. On the Benue River, the main problem is Lagdo Dam in Cameroon, which usually causes the river to swell when water is released. Flood has caused a lot of damage to the North Central Zone. In Agatu, Benue state, farmers continue to lose their crops and farmland to flood and erosion. This is applicable to states like Niger, Nasarawa and Plateau, which have suffered loses and trauma because of flood and erosion.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, it is no longer news that over the years, herder/farmer clashes in North Central Nigeria, especially in Benue State, have continuously made headlines. Consequently, infrastructure ranging from places of worship, roads, hospitals, schools, houses, recreational centres, etc, have been left tattered, shattered and pierced by bullets. Women, children, pregnant women and in fact the entire population is a victim of the atrocities perpetrated by suspected herders and bandits in the North Central Zone of Nigeria. Even animals and the environment are not spared the chaos and conundrum imparted on the Zone by the perpetrators of these unwholesome acts.

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“Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, between February 24, 2016 and January 2024, rural dwellers in 45 villages of Agatu LGA were awakened by sound of gunshots and flicks of matchets as suspected militias swept into the area unleashing an orgy of violence. The unfortunate incident left, in its wake, more than 800 persons dead, among which were children and women, with more than 59,000 persons displaced from their ancestral homes. The displaced communities have been scattered with many seeking refuge in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps scattered across Benue and Nasarawa states.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, this Bill seeks, therefore, to; establish the North Central Development Commission (NCDC) saddled with the responsibility of receiving and managing funds allocated by the Federal Government and Donors (International and Local Donors) for the resettlement, rehabilitation, integration and reconstruction of roads, houses, farmlands and business premises affected by flood, erosion and farmer/herder clashes, terrorist activities, construction of large format drainage systems, dredging of rivers Benue and Niger to control flood, erosion and other incidental matters, as well as tackling the menace of poverty, illiteracy and other related environmental and developmental challenges in the North Central Nigeria.

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“Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, we all know the bond and attachment a man has with his ancestral home, and the psychological effects of being displaced from same. The funds allocated by the Federal Government and Donors (Local and International) will be used to rehabilitate displaced persons, and to indeminify them to their former economic status.

“Recent advocacy has centered on the need to make Nigeria’s geopolitical zones centers of development, as intervening centers of development between the states and the Federal government. It is our hope that the aggregate of developments via the instrument of Zonal Development commissions will make Nigeria stronger and greater again. Mr President, unbundling the federal government now has become an imperative need given the development inertia of most states and the near emasculation of local government councils in Nigeria.

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“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, may I mention that this Bill was actually initiated by my humble self in the 9th Senate , passed all necessary legislative processes and got a resounding support from every quarter of the nation. However, the Bill was unable to get to the presidency for further necessary action before the end of the 9th Senate.

“Today, Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues, in the 10th Senate this Bill is co-sponsored by all senators from North Central Zone across party lines.

“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, I humbly urge you all to support this Bill for the Establishment of the North Central Development Commission (NCDC) and pass it appropriately for a second reading for equity, fairness and the development of our country.

“Thank you all for your kind audience.”

In his remarks,the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio thanked Sen Abba Moro and all the co-sponsors of the bill for sponsoring the all-important bill. He said development in any part of the country was development for all Nigerians.

He agreed with the sponsors of the bill that North Central deserved a development commission to address the myriads of challenges confronting the region.

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The bill was refered to the committee on Special Duties to report back to the Senate within four weeks.

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

The Federal Government says it might open the borders for cement importation, if manufacturers of the product fail to bring down the cost.

The Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ahmed Dangiwa issued the threat on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with Cement and Building Materials Manufacturers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the meeting was summoned to address the astronomical increase in the cost of cement nationwide.

The minister expressed concerns that in the past couple of months, the country had witnessed a recurring alarming increase in the prices of cement and other building materials.

“Clearly, this is a crisis for housing delivery. An increase in essential building materials means an increase in the prices of houses.

“We are not the only country facing this challenges, many countries are facing the same type of challenges that we’re facing, some even worse than that.

“But, as patriotic citizens, we have to rally round the country when there is crisis, to ensure that we do our best to save the situation,” he said.

The minister added: “Honestly speaking, we have to sit down and look at this critically and know how you should go back and think of it.

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“The government stopped importation of cement in other to empower you to produce more and sell cheaper.

“Otherwise the government can open the borders for mass importation of cement, the price will crash, but you will have no business to do”.

Dangiwa said the reasons given by cement manufacturers for the price increase – high cost of gas and manufacturing equipment – were not enough for such astronomical pricing.

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He expressed his displeasure at the position of Cement Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (CEMAN) that the association “does not interfer with the pricing of cement”.

He said the association should not just fold its arms when things were going wrong.

“One person cannot be selling at N3500 per bag and another selling at N7000 per bag and you cannot call them to order.

“The association is expected to monitor price control, otherwise the association has no need to exist,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Salako James , Executive Secretary, CEMAN, said the housing policy of the administration of President Bola Tinubu was laudable and every responsible Nigerian has to key into it.

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He, however, identified some areas of concerns and appealed to the government to look into them in order to tackle the issue of cement pricing.

Salako identified the challenges of gas supply to heavy users like the cement industry and urged the government to create a window whereby gas will be bought with Naira instead of dollar.

He also complained about the distribution channel, stressing tha there was a great difference between the price from the manufacturers and the market price.

He, therefore called for government intervention to help stabilise the situation and bring sanity to the economy.

NAN reports that at the end of the meeting, the minister directed that a committee should be constituted to review the situation and come out with implementable resolutions that would benefit the common Nigerian.

NAN also reports that the three major cement producers, Dangote Plc, BUA Plc and Lafarge Plc were represented as well as other industry stakeholders.

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NAN

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Goods worth millions lost  as fire razes shops in Anambra

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Goods worth millions lost  as fire razes shops in Anambra

Goods worth millions were destroyed when an early morning fire razed four shops in Anambra market.

The incident occurred on Wednesday morning at Nkwo Market, Umunze in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The inferno, which occurred around 1.20am, was reportedly caused by power surge.

Two days ago, Anambra Commissioner for Spécial Duties, Hon Beverly Ikpeazu -Nkemdiche, had raised the alarm over incessant fire outbreaks in the State in récent time.

She lamented that 24 of such incidents occurred within one month, advising the public to take proactive measures on how to prevent them

Nkemdiche said nine of such incidents happened in January, while eight took place in February already.

According to eyewitnesses, goods worth millions, including household items and plastic materials were destroyed by the fire.

State Fire Chief, Dr. Martin Agbili, who confirmed the incident, said no life was lost in the inferno,

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He said his men who arrived the scene shortly after they were alerted controlled the fire from spreading the entire market.

According to Agbili: “At about 0120hrs (1.20am) of Wednesday 21-02-2024, Anambra State Fire Service, received a distress call of fire outbreak at Nkwo Market, Umunze.

“Immediately, we deployed our fire truck and gallant firefighters to the fire scene. We fought, controlled and extinguished with the assistance of some traders and the public who came out at that incident time.

“The cause of the fire was unknown but suspected power surge. There was no casualty or lost of life during the fire incident but about four (4) shops were affected, mainly provision shops, plastic shop and attachments shop.

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“Always remember to switch off your electrical and electronics appliances when they are not in use to avoid power surge.”

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