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Cement price hike: FG threatens to open borders

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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 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.
“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.
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.
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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Rivers: Court outlaws LGA chairmen tenure extension

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By Barth Ndubuwah, Port Harcourt

A High Court sitting in Rivers State has ruled against the recent extension of Local Government Chairmen’s tenures, declaring exercise by the ousted 27 lawmakers of the State House of Assembly as invalid.

 The case, Hon. Enyiada Cookey-Gam & 6 Others vs The Governor of Rivers State & Others (Suit No. PHC/1320/CS/2024), was presided over by Hon. Justice D.G. Kio  in Port Harcourt.

Justice Kio declared that Local Government Law No. 2 of 2024, which sought to extend the Chairmen’s terms by six months, conflicts with the 1999 Constitution and Section 9(1) of Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018.

The court affirmed that the lawful tenure for Local Government Chairmen and Councillors remains three years, as stipulated by the 2018 law.

The judge emphasised that the attempt to extend the tenure was not only unlawful but also violated the officials’ oath of office.

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Emir of Kano to visit Awujale of Ijebuland today

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The Awujale and Paramount Ruler of Ijebuland, and President, Ijebu Traditional Council, Oba Dr. Sikiru Kayode Adetona CFR, GCON, JP, Ogbagba II, will today play host to the revered traditional ruler, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, on a royal visit along with eight officials of the Kano Emirate.

In a letter titled Notification of Our Visit to Ijebu Ode Kingdom, dated 19th May 2024, with reference number KEC/HH/CORR/OOW/VOL.I/768 and personally signed by the Emir of Kano, the purpose of the visit is to pay “respect to His Majesty with intention to strengthen the cordial relationship that has been in existence for several years between Awujale of ljebu-land and our father, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, of blessed memory.

The letter read, “I humbly write to notify His Royal Majesty the Awujale of ljebu-land of our resolve to pay a Royal Visit to ljebu Ode Kingdom, Ogun State, on Wednesday, 22nd May, 2024 with an entourage of 8 officials of Kano Emirate.

“The purpose of our visit is to pay our respect to His Majesty with intention to strengthen the cordial relationship that has been in existence for several years between Awujale of ljebu-land and our father, the late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero of blessed memory.

“At the same time, we will seize the opportunity to felicitate with His Majesty for attaining the age of 90 years, as well as been on the throne for 64 years.

“While we pray and hope the trip will be successful, and we meet Your Majesty in good health, please accept the assurance of our esteem regards.

 ”Allah Ya kare mutuncin mu da addinin mu. Allah Ya bamu lafiya da zaman lafiya (May God protect our honour and our religion. May God grant us health and peace).”

The visit will hold at the GRA Ijebu Ode residence of Kabiyesi Awujale between 12.00 noon and 2.00pm

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Domestic violence: Speak out, don’t suffer in silence — Lagos Commissioner tells women

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By Sodiq Adelakun

The Lagos State Government has urged women experiencing violation of rights to speak out as they can only receive help when they do so.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA), Mrs. Cecilia Dada, at a ministerial news conference in Ikeja, Lagos on Tuesday.

“Speak up, speak out on domestic violence, there’s help! Come to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. If you cannot come, call 767. 767 is a number to call if you need help,” Dada said.

Also, she revealed that a total of 662 domestic violence cases were reported in the last one year, with 592 women and 70 men affected.

According to the commissioner, 592 women reported battering and violence against them by their husbands, while 70 men reported being beaten or battered by their wives within the same period.

She said the cases were reported directly to the WAPA ministry or through its toll-free line 767/112.

Further breakdown showed that 27 men and 247 women reported domestic violence directly to the ministry, while 43 men and 345 women reported spousal violence through the toll-free line.

In response to the growing concern, she revealed that Lagos State Government is constructing a Domestic Violence Survivors Shelter at Agidingbi, Ikeja, which will provide a safe and secure refuge for survivors of domestic violence.

Meanwhile, Dada added that the domestic violence unit created in 2015 in order to handle gender based violence cases that occur among intimate partners, relations, neighbors, among others had done a lot.

She said the domestic violence unit is saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring zero tolerance to gender based violence in the state.

The commissioner stated that the unit had been able to offer social intervention which involved advocacy (sensitisation and awareness creation programs on GBV), counseling, mediation, rescue, social investigation, empowerment, referral, medical assistance, collaboration, psychosocial services and follow up.

“The Ministry also partners with MDAs, International organisations and other relevant stakeholders to curb cases Of gender based violence in the State,” she said.

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