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The CEO Median Construction Development Nigerian Limited, said that Ibom Tropicana Mall would be the cheapest in rental price per square meter in Nigeria, with a Square meter going for as low as N5,400 per Square meter.

Median Construction Development Nigerian Limited, the major investors at the Ibom Tropicana Mall has assured the government and people of Akwa Ibom State that the Ibom Tropicana Mall billed to commence business in December 2020, will be of world class standard. The assurance was given by the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Olumide Akinsanya, while conducting journalists around the mall in Uyo.

Engr. Akinsanya said that his company as partners to Akwa Ibom State Government in the development of the Ibom Tropicana Mall, under a Public Private Partnership, ( PPP ) arrangement, is saddled with the responsibilities of redesigning and remodeling the complex into a functional mall with the additional mandate to occupy and manage the facilities. He noted that the State governor had since August 2015, mandated his firm to remodel the mall and bring in an Anchor investor to the mall. Shoprite was then the choice anchor, for which a ground breaking was performed. He, however, hinted that the worsening exchange rage of the Naira made it less attractive for foreign investors, hence the resort to sourcing funds and investors locally.

He announced that Market Square has been selected as the anchor investor based on their experience and track record in mall management.

While commending the investment wizardry of the governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Engr Akinsanya stated that it was the effort of the governor that made Ibom Tropicana the only mall in Nigeria indexed in Naira. He stated that the indexing of the mall in Naira is a significant signpost of Akwa Ibom, under Gov. Emmanuel achievement in ease of doing business.

The Mall, which is 90 per cent complete, already has 60 per cent of its 55 shops signed up; with 50 per cent of the stores taken up by mainly Akwa Ibom State based organizations. Among notable firms signed up are Choice Mall, Oliver Twist, Jossy International, Quinthall, Shade Cover, Med Plus, etc. The CEO Median Construction Development Nigerian Limited, said that Ibom Tropicana Mall would be the cheapest in rental price per square meter in Nigeria, with a Square meter going for as low as N5,400 per Square meter.

The Mall, which was commissioned by the Akpabio administration at the twilight of the administration was largely uncompleted, with less than 5,000 square meters of space, has been upgraded, remodeled and completed into a 9,800 Square meters of letable space. To achieve this, the investing company went into extensive repairs, restructuring and expansion, with the entire 3,000 square meters of space to be occupied by the anchor tenant, constructed from the scratch.

When fully functional, Engr. Akinsanya said that the mall will provide 600 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs and help stimulate enormous economic activities in the state.

It could be recalled that Ibom Tropicana Mall is one of the components of a multi-billion naira massive leisure and business complex, which the Akpabio administration started in 2008, with a promised completion period of 12 months. As the time the Akpabio administration ended in 2015, the entertainment center only had the Cineplex functioning. Even though the administration “commissioned” the mall, the facility was far from being completed for occupation and commencement of business.

Cc: David Augustine

“At this point we have surrendered to NCDC, with the opening of interstate borders we no longer have control over who enters our state or not, it is definitely true that we might begin to have a surge in cases across the country and I advise our people that our lockdown should actually begin now.

“By opening our borders and the airways Cross River that is COVID-19 free will have an avalanche… but where the borders are open, our eyes will be open, where the borders are open our medical facilities will remain open. We must prepare for the onslaught. As a state we were the first to close our borders even when the Federal Government was slow in response to COVID-19, as a professor of science I went in to read biology, chemistry, physics and biochemistry books and saw that cloth mask can actually stop particles of the virus from spreading and we were the first state to produce cloth mask for use.

“We are closing the first phase of COVID-19 campaign, I want to specially appreciate my partner (Deputy Governor) for his professorial advice, I wouldn’t succeed without a team that supported our vision, I want to thank everyone in that team and I say congratulations. For the closure of that first phase I want to make a token donation of 30 million naira to our COVID-19 team to share for that sleepless nights, for that difficulty, for that stress that I put you all through in order that our state remain free.

“I like to end by saying Cross River you are the only state that remained strong to the end. I want you all to help me thank God for preserving our lives. Thank you and God bless you “

Those were part of the remarks of Sir Benedict Ayade, Governor of Cross River state as he declared a closure of what he described as the first phase of COVID-19 response in the state, due to the declaration of a resumption of interstate travels both on land and air, across the country.

62-year-old woman has reportedly loss her life while struggling for COVOD-19 palliative donated by the  Rivers state government and shared in Elele Kingdom, Ikwerre Local Government Area.
 
According to Vanguard, the deceased, Mrs. Florence Onuobodo arrived at the venue with others waiting to receive the palliatives. Astampede ensued and she was trampled upon by others who were also struggling to collect the food items. Four other women including a 91-year-old woman sustained varying degrees of injury during thestampede.
 
Commenting on the incident, a counsellor representing Elele, ward 4, at Ikwerre LGA Legislative Assembly, Emmanuel Amadi, denied the allegation that the process for sharing the palliatives was poorly managed.

Despite being rushed to the hospital, he said the woman unfortunately died.

Bakers in Lagos State, Nigetia have hinted that the price of bread might go up by 60%, if government doea not interven urgently to end the rising prices of baking materials attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the globe.

While appealing to both federal and state governments to quickly come in and arrest the situation for the benefit of all, the association maintained that “if we are suppose to follow the trend of increase in the prices of raw materials for our production, the prices of bread may increase by 60 per cent.”

In a statement jointly by the Chairmen, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Kosofe and Surulere local chapters, Comrade Taiwo Akintola and Comrade Ibitoye Oladapo, the high cost of baking materials is killing their businesses, as many bakers are finding it difficult to make profits due to the high cost of materials.

bag of flour that costs N9,000 before COVID-19, now goes for N13,000, while a bag of sugar now costs N24, 000 as against the former price of N13,000. Butter is now N12,000 against N7,500, while milk, which was N29,000, now goes for N52,000. And there is an increase in nread packaging cost which used to be N10,000 now N12 ,000,”the bakers said. They added that the prices of salt, yeast and other baking materials had also hit the rooftop.

The association also explained that the instability of foreign exchange, high cost of diesel and other baking materials were reasons given by flour millers for the hike in the prices of baking materials, stressing that the association have appealed to flour millers and others involved in the selling of baking materials to reduce their prices, but yet to yield favorable response.

“And that is why we are pleading with Federal Government to intervene in this matter by talking to flour millers and baking material sellers to bring the prices down.

“Master Bakers Association is one of the largest employer of labour in the country and most of the bakeries are folding up, with many Nigerians working in the bakery sector losing their jobs,” the bakers added.

Two members of the United States House of Representatives, Steve Chabot and Chris Smith, have expressed concern over alleged human rights violations under the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), in light of plans to return $320m stolen by the late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

A United States-based political organisation, American Principles Project, in a letter to the US Attorney General, William Barr, dated April 22, 2020, stated that the congressmen had relayed their fears to Barr.

The letter, signed by APP Executive Director, Terry Schilling, said, “Concern with Nigeria’s behaviour under the Buhari Administration is growing.

“Recently, US Senator (Chuck) Grassley has written to the DOJ noting that, under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, Nigerians face violations undermining freedom of religion, freedom of speech, due process, and the rule of law.

“The persecution of Christians is especially alarming, as attacks have increased rapidly.’ Similar concerns were also shared with you by Representatives Steve Chabot and Chris Smith.”

The APP expressed its objection to the decision by the US Department of Justice to repatriate the $320m Abacha loot to Nigeria, saying the funds should not be returned until human rights, religious liberties, and due process had significantly improved.

It added, “Recently, the United States Government concluded that under the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari and his administration, Nigeria has become a ‘severe violator of religious freedom.’ The evidence to support this conclusion is overwhelming.

“Amnesty International, Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, the International Committee on Nigeria, and the International Organisation for Peace Building and Social Justice have documented that since President Buhari came into power in 2015, more than 12,000 Nigerians have been murdered, of which more than half have been singled out because of their Christian faith.”

The group said, apart from the “deeply troubling” persecution of Christians, the 2019 Human Rights report by the US State Department had alleged systematic human rights and due process violations at the hands of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Attorney General Abubakar Malami, and Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

According to the APP, the report found them and their organisations responsible for “[s]ignificant human rights issues includ[ing] unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture, and arbitrary detention, all the above by both government and nonstate actors,’ harsh and life-threatening prison conditions….”

It added that the US Government must use all the tools and enforcement mechanisms at its disposal to ensure corrupt perpetrators of crimes against freedom of religion and against humanity were held to account.

“On behalf of APP, it would be helpful if you could share with us: Whether the DOJ has repatriated these monies to Nigeria, and if not, when does it plan to do so? Whether DOJ intends to address the questions raised by the Members of Congress?

“Attorney General Barr — APP would also strongly encourage the DOJ to undertake an investigation on whether or not the EFCC’s role in detaining individuals who have spoken against the Buhari administration warrants the consideration of sanctions against EFCC Chairman Magu and Attorney General Malami under the Global Magnitsky Act or the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act,” it said.

(From PUNCH)


Blast NCDC Boss for Saying All States Will Have Positive Cases
… Says ‘We Were Prepared Even Before a Case Was Recorded in Africa’

Cross River State is one of the two states in Nigeria that is yet to record any case of COVID-19, a development the state government has said, seems not to be welcomed by powers that be in the COVID-19 management in the country.


In this special interview with a TVC News Programme, “COVID-19 MYTHS AND FACTS”, conducted via skype and monitored by rolantimes.com, the Commissioner for Health in Cross River State, Dr. Betta Edu makes some shocking revelations about the undue pressure that the state is subjected to by powers that be, in order to be named amongst the states with COVID-19 positive cases at all cost.


Excerpts:

PRESS: Hon. Commissioner, what is going on in Cross River State as it concerns COVID-19 fight or control?


COMMISSIONER: Cross River State, thankfully is one of the two states left as it concerns states that have not recorded COVID-19. We have had suspected cases in the past, we have send their samples to Ebonyi state and other centers and they have come back negative.
I think a week ago, the boss of NCDC said that every state in Nigeria will have the disease and it gave us some worry, because one would expect, it is the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, not the Nigeria Center for Disease Spread. And so they have that challenge to see that states do not have the disease. I think the thing of pride should be that states do not have cases rather than saying all states must have cases. It should be a challenge to the Federal Government and NCDC to ensure that the states that do no have cases stay clean.
Like I’ve been saying, Cross River state started its preventive strategy very early this year. We were the first state in Nigeria to set up and EOC for Coronavirus, we were the first state to begin sensitization even at rural areas, we were the first state in Nigeria to begin screening of people coming in to our local airport even before Africa or Nigeria recorded any case of coronavirus.


PRESS : Is it indeed true that some Cross Riverians are being promised some millions of naira if they claim being COVID-19 positive and would you want to share that text message with us?


COMMISSIONER : Like I said people have walked up to the team, not once not twice, to show us text messages in their phone that says if you accept to be a COVID-19 patient, you will be given 5million, you will be given 1milion and then they come to ask us if that is true and we tell them It’s not true. Of course the text message is this bulk SMS and we don’t know where it’s coming from, we have given it to our team to check the source and the origin of that message. And of course we have been under immense pressure to take samples from anybody just to beef up the numbers. In fact to be honest with you we’ve had to take samples from two persons who reported at UCTH, they did’t meet NCDC criteria but just to ensure that we continue to take samples and send, we had to take samples.


PRESS: Who is putting pressure on you to test anybody so that you can beef up the numbers?


COMMISSIONER: it’s like a 360 thing, at first the NCDC boss said we are not testing enough that is why we are not having positive cases, WHO is calling every day, telling us to go in to the streets and just test anybody and send them to the lab. I keep saying we need to check the criteria; these testing kits are very limited. And if we continue to test just about anybody, we might get to a point that we truly need to test people who meet the criteria and we may not have kits to test them.


PRESS: Some Nigeriens sneaked into Cross River State from Ikom, one in Obudu, one in Calabar and one in another Local Government Area, but they were not isolated, yet the Calabar team of COVID-19 is insisting that the NCDC team deployed to the state to carry out their duties is being quarantined. So what is your reaction to this?


COMMISSIONER: I think what you need to find out is the truth behind it. There have been a lot of scary messages going on in social media, so you sit today and they say there is one person in Ikom who has COVID-19, the person came in from so place, and then you ask, where in Ikom? Ikom is a big Local Government that has almost close to five hundred thousand people, and then you ask where in Ikom, there is no further information, who in Ikom?, there is no information, nothing. The next day you see a new message saying there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Calabar, you ask, where in Calabar? Nobody knows, who is the person? and what is the contact, nobody knows. And then the next morning you here there is a confirmed case, and so on and on.


PRESS: Alright, so they can’t be substantiated, so to speak?


COMMISSIONER: Exactly


PRESS: Hon. Commissioner Betta Edu thank you so much for talking to us on COVID19 MYTHS AND FACTS.


Bayelsa born, former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has said that he has no Bank accounts nor properties abroad.

Jonathan who handed over to Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 made the comment in response to a report that the federal government has requested for the bank statements of past public officers including his and his wife, Patience; former ministers of petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and Rilwanu Lukman.

The request was reported to have been made by Abubakar Malami, the attorney general of the federation, to help an ongoing investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) know individuals involved in the Process & Industrial Developments Ltd gas deal.

“Our attention has been drawn to international media reports to the effect that the Federal Government of Nigeria has subpoenaed bank records for former President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan in the United States of America,” the statement signed by Ikechukwu Eze, Jonathan’s spokesman, read.

“We aver that the Federal Government of Nigeria did not contact Dr Jonathan or his wife before issuing these subpoenas. If they had, we would have advised them of the fact that you cannot subpoena what does not exist.”

Eze referenced a comment made by Jonathan during the swearing-in of new ministers on March 5, 2014, when the former president said he had no accounts or property abroad.

“We are confident in stating that between that time and now, nothing has changed with regards to Dr Goodluck Jonathan. He has no accounts in the United States of America and encourages US authorities to cooperate fully with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s subpoena.

“We would also like to state that during his tenure as President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan extended every courtesy to former Presidents and Heads of state because he believed and still believes that promoting, projecting and protecting Nigeria’s sovereignty and the image is the paramount duty of her government because it is not possible to belittle Nigerians without belittling Nigeria.”

Eze said the P&ID contract was signed before the Jonathan administration and that he “gave appropriate counsel to the incoming government in the handover notes of 2015, which advice if carried out, would have prevented the current unfortunate circumstances”.

Nigerian government through the office of the attorney general of Nigeria is leaving no stone unturned in her bid to overturn a $9.7 billion judgement awarded against it for breach of agreement in a botched gas project.

Rolantimes online magazine brings you the key highlights of the new nationwide measures to ease suffering while protecting Nigeria citizens against COVID-19 as contained in the Presidential broadcast of Monday, April 27.


According to Mr. President’s directive, ” Selected businesses and offices can open from 9am to 6pm;
There will be an overnight curfew from 8pm to 6am. This means all movements will be prohibited during this period except essential services;
There will be a ban on non-essential inter-state passenger travels until further notice;
“There will be partial and controlled interstate movement of goods and services will be allowed to allow for the movement of goods and services from producers to consumers; and
We will strictly ensure the mandatory use of face masks or coverings in public in addition to maintaining physical distancing and personal hygiene.

“Furthermore, the restrictions of on social and religious gathers shall remain in place. State Governments, corporate organisations and philanthropists are encouraged to support the production of cloth masks for citizens.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the lockdown in the FCT, Lagos & Ogun States shall subsist remain in place until these new ones come into effect on  Saturday, 2nd May 2020 at 9am.

” The Presidential Task Force shall provide sector specific details and timing guidelines to allow for preparations by Governments, businesses and institutions.
The above are guidelines. State Governors may choose to amend adapt and expand based on their unique circumstances provided they maintain alignment with the guidelines issued  aboveon public health and hygiene.

” These revised guidelines do will not apply for to Kano State. The total lockdown recently announced by the State Government shall remain enforced be enforced for the full duration. The Federal Government shall deploy all the necessary human, material and technical resources to support the State in controlling and containing the pandemic”.

The President also took time to applaud the health workers in the frontline for their sacrifices. He pledged better welfare and improved working conditions.

“I wish to once again commend the frontline workers across the country who, on a daily basis, risk everything to ensure we win this fight. For those who got infected in the line of duty, be rest assured that Government will do all it takes to support you and your families during this exceedingly difficult period. I will also take this opportunity to assure you all that your safety, wellbeing and welfare remains paramount to our Government”.
 

The President also urged Governors to adopt the stated measures and domesticate it based on peculiarities in their state.

There are fears in some states across the United States that citizens might have began to take their lives by taking poisonous items.

CNN reports on her Twitter handle indicates that Government has been beckoned on to put a control to the sales of poisonous substances in some parts of America.

The tweet says “…state like Illinois has seen a significant increase in calls to poison control the past two days, the public health director said, including calls about people ingesting cleaning solutions and bleach…”

It is not clear if this is as a result of depression caused by lockdown and associated discomforts, government has however reportedly moved in to action.

By Sam Edoho

What, price of Nigeria’s crude oil at $11 per barrel with a further discount of $5? Yet there are still no buyers? This is calamitous and we are truly in dire straits at this time. They say when it rains it pours. It is pouring now and we cannot blame anyone but ourselves for the leaky roof.

We were warned, severally; we had the opportunity, many times to do right when oil was trading comfortably at average $100 a barrel but we conveniently ignored all the warning signals like a stubborn fly following a corpse to the grave. We were just hard headed refusing to see reason or bend to logic or be swayed by critical thinking. Now, like they say, the chicken, we bred, are come home to roost. Unfortunately, nemesis is catching up with us in torrents. Regrettably this is not the time to plan. This is time to act and execute our plans if we had any. What are we planning now that the baby’s head is out? My people say you cannot ask a woman in travail to close her legs when the baby’s head has popped out. Planning period is over. It’s like claiming to have an emergency with no money when your wife is giving birth after 9 months of valid pregnancy. What is the emergency there? That is no emergency because you had 9 complete months to plan, contemplate, review and consider. If that is an emergency, then everything in life is an emergency. Emergency is unforeseen.

What is happening to the price of crude oil was anticipated and it is here with us now and as always we are caught napping again, seriously unprepared. Well, lest one is accused of laying out a litany of woes with no way out let’s look at the bright side of things. The word at this time is prudence, execution of focused projects.

This is the time for ingenuity at not only management of resources but at resourceful ways to make the best of a very bad situation; this the time to bring our best eleven forward to fashion a way out of this quagmire. Ultimately this time and season will pass and we shall be offered yet another opportunity to make right. That would be the window to disappoint the naysayers and seriously focus on Agriculture to feed ourselves, produce raw materials for our industries and for exports. That would be the opening we need and I hope we shall be wise enough to pay attention to the manufacturing sector to produce what we need and create the badly needed jobs for our people. We have what it takes to be great but we needed this jolt from the novel Coronavirus to get our senses right, i hope.