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Abia: Otti’s wife welcomes first baby of 2024

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The wife of Abia governor, Mrs Priscilla Otti, on Monday welcomed the first baby of the year 2024 at Okpulor Ukwu Primary Health Center, Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

Otti presented gift items to the baby during her goodwill visit to the health centre.

The first baby of the year, Baby Chiziterem Jethro Ikechukwu, a boy, weighed 2.5 kilogrammes.

He was born at 12:02 am to the family of Mr and Mrs Ikechukwu Albert of Mbubo community, Isiala Ngwa North LGA.

Speaking during the visit, Otti described the birth of a child as a special occasion that calls for celebration and thanksgiving to God.

She added that the birth of a child brings good fortune, saying that it was not by chance but a product of God’s divine will.

Otti said that she was delighted that the baby and mother were in good health.

“We are overjoyed because this is a blessing to the state and I know that the birth of this baby has been ordained by God.

“We have come to rejoice with you and we believe that God has great things in stock for this baby.

“This is a special occasion because this is the first baby of the year since the inception of this administration.

“This child is going to grow in health and do well in all areas of life and will bring joy to the parents,” she said.

Otti advised the mother to practice exclusive breastfeeding, adding that the benefits are enormous for mother and child.

She commended the staff of the health centre for their efforts in rendering effective services to patients.

Otti added that the government would not relent in improving access to quality healthcare services in the state.

She also said that the government had evolved programmes and policies that would be executed through the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation to improve the welfare of women and children in Abia.

Also, the Officer in Charge of the health centre, Miss Uloaku Ihesiene, said that  the mother of the baby was actively in labour on arrival at the facility.

“We all were happy to welcome the baby and I am very glad to witness this celebration,” Ihesiene said.

Responding, the mother of the child, Mrs Onyinyechi Ikechukwu, said that she was delighted with her bundle of joy  and promised to raise him with the fear of God.

Ikechukwu thanked the governor’s wife for her kind gesture and prayed to God to bless her immensely.

Otti visited babies born at Abia Specialist and Diagnostic Hospital, Amachara.

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Senate tasks stakeholders on strengthening commodities exchange

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The Senate has tasked relevant stakeholders in the Capital Market to strive hard to strengthen the commodities exchange toward actualising its full potential.

Sen. Osita Izunaso, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, said this at a workshop for members of the committee, with the theme “On Infrastructure Financing Development of the Commodities Ecosystem through Commodities Exchanges” in Abuja on Sunday.

He said that executive and the legislature must work in harmony to ensure that commodities exchange was strengthened in line with the global best practices.

Izunaso said that the workshop was aimed at positioning the community exchange toward ensuring food security in the country as well as enhance foreign exchange earnings.

“We discover that people are talking about money market, capital market. Nobody is dwelling on commodity. So that is why we have to partner with Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to bring the story nearer home.

“There must be need for us to ensure that all the export commodities in Nigeria should pass through the commodity exchange as a way of getting revenue for the country.

“Commodities exchanges are game-changers. They enable investment diversification, manage risk, ensure fair pricing and streamline transactions.

“To boost Nigeria’s competitiveness, we need a thriving commodities trading ecosystem,” he said.
Izunaso added:“Recent global events highlight the urgent need to diversify our economy. Prioritising and accelerating the development of non-oil commodities is crucial, especially to diversify foreign exchange sources.”

He said that the Lagos Commodities Exchange had recorded some major achievements lately.
recorded an upswing

“This demonstrates the potential of the sector. Commodities Exchanges are a path to progress.There is a clear consensus,” he said.

He also said that for Nigeria to overcome its challenges, economic diversification was essential adding that commodities exchanges could play a vital role in achieving the goals of job creation and economic growth.

The lawmaker said that the Senate through legislation, would ensure that there were adequate legal frameworks for commodity exchanges, warehouses and financing.

Also speaking, the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi said the ministry had been working to reverse food inflation and stem food crisis in the country.

He said that Nigeria had about 73 million hectares of arable land out of which only about 33 hectares were being cultivated.

“With this, our productivity is still low. I believe there is a lot to be done to raise the productivity of farmers.”

He said that to increase productivity, there was the need to improve on irrigation capabilities through dry season farming.

“Our findings show that farmers are finding it difficult to fuel irrigation facilities.

“We are suggesting that there are solar-powered irrigation pumps that members of the national assembly can use as part of their constituency programmes.

“So as to empower their farmers who are involved in dry season farming so that together, we can increase our production and improve the volume of food available, thereby reducing the impact of food inflation and of course, guaranteeing food security for our citizens,” he said.

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Low turnout of voters recorded in APC primary rerun in Okitipupa LGA

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The rerun of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday recorded a low turnout in some wards.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Gov. Usman Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee had declared the exercise held on Saturday in the 203 wards in 18 local government area of the state inconclusive .

In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday in Akure, Ododo said that reports reaching the committee indicated that the electoral process in 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA suffered some hitches.

Accordingly, the governor declared the governorship primary inconclusive and directed that a rerun be held in the 13 wards in Okitipupa LGA, having a total validated registered members of 9,515.

A NAN correspondent who monitored the rerun in some wards in Okitipupa reports low turnout of voters and security agents, compared to the large voter turnout on Saturday.

The wards visited are: Okitipupa Ward 1 at Stellamaris College, Okitipupa, Ward 2 at St. John Primary School, Ayeka/Igbodigo ward and Ikoya/Igbinsin/Oloto ward in Ikoya, all in Okitipupa LGA.

NAN reports that no officials, APC committee members or election materials were seen in sight at the wards as at the time of filling this report.

The low turnout of voters might also be unconnected with the violence recorded in some wards on Saturday.

Chief Adebayo Ogunedowo, an APC chieftain, who spoke with NAN, said that the APC primary was a big fraud to the people and democracy.

He said that voters are scared of being lynched or injured because of the breakout of violence at some wards in the state.

“Supporters of some aspirants refused to come here with directives from their principal.

“The primary election is a big fraud. A slap to residents of Ondo State and a shame to democracy.

“This is an indictment on Gov. Ododo led APC Primary Election Committee except the whole election is cancelled in the state,” he said.

Gov. Lucky Aiyedatiwa of Ondo State and 15 other aspirants are jostling to pick the party’s ticket ahead of the Nov. 16, governorship election in the state.

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Nigerian Aviation workers threaten to shut down sector over 50% revenue deduction

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The Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, has threatened to ground aviation operations in Nigeria over the Federal government’s 50 per cent internal revenue deduction policy for Ministries, Agencies and Departments, MDAs, and government-owned enterprises.

ATSSSAN’s National Executive Council disclosed this in a recent communique after NEC in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Recall that the Federal Government, in a letter through the Minister of Finance, Wale Edun, mandated all MDAs to remit 50 per cent of all their internally generated revenue to the government’s confers.

However, ATSSSAN asked for exempting aviation agencies from the deduction of 50 per cent of their IGR under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

The association said the agencies were not established for profit, adding that stifling them of the required funds would jeopardise the effective performance of their safety and security mandates.

ATSSAN warned that if the federal government insisted on the deduction, thereby compounding the current financial state of the agencies, “we may be forced to direct all aviation workers to down tools until the government reverses itself.”

Last year, through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the government commenced the 50 per cent internally generated revenue deduction from federal government-owned enterprises.

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