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Enugu govt captures additional 251 hotels operating in the state

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The Enugu State Government says it has captured an additional 251 functional hotels in its database, as part of drives  to improve hospitality and tourism businesses in the state.

The General Manager of Enugu State Tourism Board, Chief Steve Odo, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enugu on Saturday,  that the number of hotels captured by government was  now 403.

Odo spoke on the sidelines of his achievements within one year in office as the General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the board.

He said that when he assumed office in 2020, he was handed over only 152 hotels,  mostly sited within the urban areas of Enugu and Nsukka axis of the state.

“However, with the cooperation and hard work of members of  staff of the board, we were able to put in our best that ensured  more hotels were captured, even in the two metropolises and beyond.

“For Enugu metropolis, which covers the three council areas of Enugu East, Enugu North and Enugu South; we now have 287 hotels in  our database.

“In Nsukka axis, we now have about 65, and others captured in other developing axis of the state as well, which before now,  the board did not know that such hotels existed in these locations.

“So, I can  say that  working as a team in the board  has  doubled the number of  operating and functional hotels captured by the state ,’’ he said.

The general manager noted that capturing of more functional hotels would aid the hospitality and tourism businesses as well as provide government revenue for developmental purposes.

“Enugu State Tourism Board Law 2013 requires every hospitality, tourism and tourism-related establishments to apply for registration within 60 days of its operations,  and be registered if so approved.

“The board has the right to refuse to grant such applications,  if the establishment do  not conform to the minimum standard,’’ he said.

Odo said that a Certificate of Registration was  issued to any registered establishment and any such certificate issued to a hospitality or tourism establishments,  expired  on Dec. 31, immediately following the date of issuance.

“It shall be renewable from year to year on payment of such fees as may be prescribed by the board.

“No hospitality and tourism-related activity  or other such events shall hold in the state unless the same is first registered with the board upon payment of such fees, as may be prescribed by the board,’’ he said.

Odo said the development would assist the state carryout classification of hotels and hospitality-related businesses to boost its tourism potentials, adding: “The classification will  be performed according to the facilities provided in them and their locations.”

He said that hotel facilities would be classified into A, B, C and D and at the end,  projected in the board’s website as well as media information platforms for ease of access and patronage.

On staff welfare, Odo said the board had been able to boost the morale of  members of its staff; thus, encouraged them to work harder.

“The board, under my supervision, has ensured that staff monthly remittances/deductions,  get to the state board of internal revenue, which was not so in the past.

“We have been able to ensure that retired staff  of the  board from my tenure are pensionable,  and they can apply and collect tax clearance from the state board of internal revenue.

“Since, the staff output had improved over time; we are pressing to see that they are paid minimum wage being enjoyed by state workers, especially those in the state ministries,” he said. (NAN)

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Council Chairman commends Gov Lalong for strengthening Democratic system

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By Tongnaan Dada Bawa, Jos

Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong have been commended for strengthening democracy in the state by ensuring smooth transition from one elected representatives to another at the grass-root level.

Chairman Qua’an-Pan Local Government Council, Hon. Ernest Da’a who gave this applause at the swearing-in ceremony of the Council’s Deputy Chairman at the Local Government Secretariat noted that history has been made by this uncommon disposition which has ushered in new elected leaders to replicate the Rescue Administration’s policies and programmes at the third tier of government.

In a statement Signed by
Opiah O. Valentine
Assistant Chief Information Officer of the council on Friday, disclosed that the Council Chairman, while thanking the electorate in Qua’an-Pan Local Government Area for voting overwhelmingly for all candidates of the All Progressive Congress APC, in the just concluded elections promised that, they will discharge their duties with the fear of God.

He added that his administration will give priority to staff salaries and welfare as well as on-going projects with a view to ascertaining their viability and possibly complete those that will be beneficial to the people and government.

Da’a who challenged the elected leaders to be upright in their dealings with all and sundries also said that they will be judged by their actions and inactions and advised that they must work assiduously to take the APC to all nooks and crannies of their communities.

On her part, the newly sworn-in Deputy Chairman Qua’an-Pan Local Government Council, Hon. Helen Wapmuk pledged to be dedicated and committed in the discharge of her duties adding that with God on their side, they will not disappoint the people.

In his remark, the Long Pan and President Qua’an-Pan Local Government Traditional Council, Nda Emmanuel Dabang who was represented by the Long Jan, Miskoom Safiyanu Allanana speaking through the Long Kwo, Miskoom Fidelis Attahiru appealed to the citizens to be law-abiding and support government policies so as to attract dividends of good governance to their communities.

There were Goodwill messages from the Honourable Member representing Qua’an-Pan North Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, Eric Dakogol, Commissioner for Secondary and Higher Education, Mrs. Elizabeth Wapmuk and APC Chairman Qua’an-Pan Local Government Area, Kangmi Jibrin Haruna.

In another development, Hon. Damar Yaksun representing Doemak Goechim Ward and Yakubu Sarki representing Kurgwi East Ward have emerged as Leader and Deputy Leader respectively in the Qua’an-Pan Local Government Legislative Arm.

While Congratulating them on a successful election, Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari called for qualitative representation from the lawmakers for developed and progressive society.

Ari advised the people to always respect constituted authorities irrespective of age and academic qualifications, adding that the emergence of the two principal officers in the Legislative Arm is divine as God can give leadership to whom He pleases.

In their separate remarks, the Leader Legislative Arm, Damar Yaksun and the Deputy Leader, Yakubu Sarki promised to adopt open door policies in overseeing the affairs of the Legislative Arm and thanked other Lawmakers for finding them worthy to serve these capacities.

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EFCC Detains Ex- Kano Governor, Kwankwaso Over Alleged Fraud

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A former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, on Saturday, turned himself in for interrogation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This came weeks after this newspaper reported how the top member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) shunned previous invitations by the anti-corruption agency.

His decision to turn himself in could have been made to avert possible arrest which our reporter learnt was being planned by the commission.

Top EFCC officials, who asked not to be named because they had no permission to speak on the matter, told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Kwankwaso arrived at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja before noon on Saturday.

“This was after repeated invitations not honoured by him,” one of the sources said.

Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, could not be immediately reached for comments.

A close aide, who sometimes speaks for Mr Kwankwaso, said he would get back to our reporter, but had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

Petition
The former governor is being investigated over a 2015 petition by Concerned Kano State Workers and Pensioners, who alleged that he violated the Kano State Pension and Gratuity Law of 2007 in the management of pension remittances amounting to about N10 billion contributed between 2011 and 2015.

Mr Kwankwaso, earlier governed Kano State between 1999 and 2003, before he returned for his second term from 2011 to 2015.

The 64-year-old also served as the senator representing Kano Central between 2015 and 2019.

According to the petitioners, Mr Kwankwaso had directed that pension remittances be used for housing development, largely to favour the pensioners.

A tripartite deal was later reached between Kano State Pension Trust Funds as the investors and Kano State Investment and Property Limited and Kano State Housing Corporation Limited as developers on a 60:40 sharing ratio.

However, after contracts for the construction of 1,579 houses were awarded for the development of ” Kwankwasiya, Amana, and Bandarawa Cities”, the petitioners alleged, Mr Kwankwaso “manipulated” the process to terminate the term of the agreement and made outright allocations in favour of his aide and cronies.

The alleged manipulation happened in May 2015, the month Mr Kwankwaso left office as Kano’s governor.

Mr Kwankwaso is not the only politically exposed person who shunned an invitation by the EFCC last week, findings by this newspaper show.

As of the time of filing this report, Mr Kwankwaso had been grilled for hours by EFCC operatives.

It is not clear yet if he will be released on bail or pass the night in custody.

(PREMIUM TIMES)

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Agric sector lifts 4.2m Nigerians out of poverty in 2 years –Minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, on Friday, said that 4.2 million Nigerians had been lifted out of poverty, through the agriculture sector in two years.

The minister disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja, to commemorate the 2021 World Food Day under the theme: “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’’.

“As part of our effort to ensure food security, a total of 446 potable water points were provided to rural communities nation-wide with 286,500 households having access.

“We have also installed 11,952 electrical facilities, as well as the provision of 5Nos, 500KVA transformers to the rural areas, to facilitate access to electricity for food processing activities.

“In addition, through our various empowerment initiatives along production, processing and marketing of agricultural commodities, we have lifted a total of 4,205,576 Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

“This is going to continue as part of Mr President’s promise to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within the next 10 years.

“It is on record that agriculture was the only sector in Nigeria that recorded marginal growth during the COVID-19 lock-down period, spanning through the 4th quarter of 2019 to the first and second quarters of year 2020 with an average contribution of 24.23 per cent to the country’s GDP,” he said.

“The impressive 2021 second quarter growth rate of 5.01 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product released on Aug. 19 by the National Bureau of Statistics has crop production and food manufacturing as major contributors.

“The Green Imperative programme, which is expected to address the long standing problem of agricultural mechanisation is underway.

“The programme would ensure adequate supply of tractors and other implements to farmers on a public-private partnership arrangement.

“The model adopted is sustainable and would ameliorate the challenge of low production, due to lack of sufficient machinery,” he said.

He also disclosed that the Agricultural Trust Fund Bill had passed second reading at the National Assembly which, if passed into law, would address emergency funding for agricultural activities in the country.

However, the minister acknowledged the challenges bedeviling the sector’s productivity.

“The insecurity bedeviling many farming communities in the North has greatly affected food production in the last three to four years, and the farmer/herder clashes, banditry, cattle rustling all posed serious setbacks to our food systems,” he said.

He expressed optimism that the National Livestock Transformation Plan, would address all the problems associated with the country’s livestock production activities and guarantees adequate supply of quality meat for domestic consumption and for export. (NAN)

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