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Rivers collapsed building: 100 victims still trapped

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Over 100 workers are still trapped in the high rise building that collapsed in a part of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, Friday evening.

The eight storey five star hotel with an underground layer and seven storey on the surface collapsed on the over 200 workers and contractors on site about 5:15 pm, leaving those inside trapped in the wreckage.

About 30 of the victims have been rescued alive since the incident, with two other dead bodies recovered.

Some of the lucky workers that escaped the falling structure, who narrated their ordeal at the site of the building yesterday said; “We had already finished work for the day at around 5pm, I was standing at the front of the building outside, trying to clean up so I could change to a better clothe before I could go for my daily pay.

“By this time all the workers, numbering over 200, mainly youths, were inside trying to get their money as well. While I was wearing my clothe. I heard the sound as if something was breaking down; when I looked, it was the building. I quickly ran across the road to escape to the opposite side of the building. In the process, I was injured by nail, but I have gone to the hospital to treat it.”

Also another person, who said he was the operator of one of the machines used in mixing materials for the work, narrowly escaped death.

According to him, he was already inside the building hall, waiting for the time to collect his wage, when all of a sudden, he heard the sound and saw the front view of the building falling inside; then I jumped and continued to run, got to a small gate by the entrance, dust had covered everywhere. I merely opened the gate on getting outside the building. I could not see anything, the dust had taken over the entire environment that one could not even figure out where the main road was.

“At this time I gave up and stopped running any further so I would not collide with on-coming vehicle while trying to cross the road, but somehow, the building fell inside and not outside, otherwise it would have still picked me. I was already tired of running.”

Asked who, apart from the workers were within the building when the incident happened, he said, some contractors that also came for their money, including the woman that was supplying the sand and food vendors that came around to recover the debt owed them by the workers.

Although the cause of the collapse is yet to be ascertained, sympathisers who are knowledgeable about building quality ruled out substandard materials as possible cause, as each analyser confirmed that the rods and cement mixtures are accurate, adding that the rods are of the highest quality ranging between 20 and 25 mm size, just as instead of blocks, the structure were being scared.

They were however not sure of the soil quality as they said the environment is swampy in nature, adding that the weight of the structures may have put unbearable stress on the soil ground causing the collapse.

However the state House of Assembly said it will commence investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the collapse of the 7-storey building along Woji Road in GRA, Port Harcourt.

Majority Leader of the House, Martin Amaewhule, stated this when Rivers lawmakers visited the site of the incident on Saturday morning.

He said: “The Rivers State House of Assembly will reconvene to carry out proper investigation into what happened and you can be assured that in the coming days, we will sit and we will review the situation. Collapse of the building happened around 4 p.m. on Friday. So, we need to properly investigate before we run into conclusions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the two main political parties in the state are competing on show of concern on the site.

Governor Nyesom Wike has already travelled before the incident, Friday, but the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, has visited the scene.

Also all the State Executive Council members have been keeping vigil at the site to ensure that every single victim was rescued alive.

In the same vein, the APC gubernatorial candidate, Arch. Tonye Cole, also visited the scene to also show his sympathy.

Meanwhile the State Government says it has invited all those who can assist in the rescue of those trapped in the collapsed building.

According to a statement from the Deputy Governor yesterday, Governor Wike had mandated her to assure family members and friends of those caught up in the disaster that the Rivers State Government would ensure that they are rescued alive.

Reliable sources said the collapsed structure is owned by a Bayelsan, and that he was trying to replicate what he has in Abuja in the state.

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Bauchi govt to launch agricultural policy document

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Governor Mohammed

Bauchi State Government is set to launch an Agricultural Policy Document to ensure smooth agricultural production in the state.

The State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed disclosed this on Saturday at the official launching of the 2019 farming season and sales of Fertilizer held at Zaki Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Mohammed who announced the sales of the fertilizer at a cost of Five thousand, five hundred naira per bag, noted that funds has been released to Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to provide six thousand metric tons of the fertilizer.

He said in order to meet the fertilizer demand of farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and BASAC was been directed to ensure the availability of the commodities across the 20 local government areas.

The Governor said the sales of the fertilizer was part of the determination of his administration towards the provision of agricultural inputs to farmers in line with his campaign promises.

According to him, agricultural sector has remained a vibrant sector which has the potentials of providing raw materials to industries and empowerment opportunities to unemployed youth.
Governor Mohammed applauded the peaceful coexistence among farmers and herdsmen in the state and assured of his support to them.

In a key note address, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr Bala Lukshi said significant improvement in agricultural productivity and efficiency would no doubt address unemployment and assist towards poverty reduction in the state.

The Permanent Secretary while disclosing some of the agricultural intervention programmes introduced by the Ministry, observed that agriculture remained the mainstay of economy and major employer of labor.

Dr Bala Lukshi therefore appealed for the immediate government action on the outbreaks of qualia birds, army worms and stem borer in the crop sector in order to address the challenges affecting the sector.

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James Hope College student wins Cambridge scholarship

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James Hope College (JHC) has reaffirmed its impressive stance on academic excellence with its recent award for the Cambridge Immerse Scholarship. Just a few months after the College published its outstanding IGCSE result, recording 100% score in 14 subjects (A* – C), one of JHC’s students, Akajiugo Amucheazi won the highly sought-after 2019 Cambridge Immerse Scholarship, following his qualification through the rigorous nomination round.

Akajiugo will be joining other award winners worldwide in Cambridge, from August 11 to August 24, 2019 for their intensive course. This Scholars Programme is an excellent accolade for any high-performing student interested in pursuing further studies at a leading university.

Immerse Education, the award provider of the Cambridge Immerse Scholarship, is an award-winning academic programme in the United Kingdom. Its unique academic enrichment programmes provide an unparalleled glimpse into university-level education. All programmes are designed by expert, experienced tutors, which include some of the brightest minds from some of the world’s leading universities. Visit here for more details.

James Hope College is one of the educational initiatives of the Jim Ovia Foundation, which offers its students world-class education at a subsidized rate. James Hope College is supported by an endowment fund and currently has 40% of its students on full scholarship. It is located in the serene environment of Agbor, Delta Stat

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N3.4bn: Emir Sanusi lied, says Kano agency

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Emir of Kano, Sanusi replies Ganduje

The Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission has described the claim by the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, that he was not the accounting officer of the Kano Emirate Council as a misrepresentation of facts.

The agency debunked this in a preliminary report on the investigation being carried out in respect of the alleged misappropriation of over N3.4 billion by the Kano Emirate Council between 2014 and 2017.

The report was signed by the commission’s Chairman, Mr Muhuyi Magaji, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Thursday.

The report dated June 11, 2019, was addressed to the Secretary to the State Government.

It read: “In furtherance to the Commission’s earlier communication No. PCAC/GEN/6/V.I, dated 31st May, 2019, on the above subject matter and the unfolding events, the Commission deemed it necessary to make some clarifications as follows:-

“It is imperative to state categorically that, the Commission’s investigation is on alleged misappropriation and questionable expenditures but not on the funds left behind by the Late Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, and we still maintain our stance.

“In the cause of investigation we undertook an analysis of the main Account belonging to Kano Emirate Council domiciled at First Bank with Account No. 2005888452 starting from the era of the Late Emir to enable the Commission have an idea of how the money is being managed.”

According to the report, there were 783 withdrawals or transfers and placements from Jan. 2, 2013, to June 6, 2014, during the time of the late Emir.

“As from 2nd January 2013 to 13th April, 2017, the opening balance was N432,338,412.98. Total credit made in the account during this period was N6,784,146,335.73 while the total debit during the period under review is N7,209,035,163.09.”

However, it added that, “the closing balance as at April, 2017, was N7,449,585.62″.

It further revealed that on Feb. 13, 2014, and Feb. 26, 2014, payments were made to Philko Ltd, the company said to have undertaken the construction of Ado Bayero Royal City via Inter Bank transfers of the sum of N776,159,519.50.

“There were transfers of N388,079,759.75, N338,079,759.75 and N50,000,000.00 made on Feb. 13, 2014, and Feb. 26, 2014, respectively; making the total quoted figures for Philko Ltd.”

The report also alleged that during the period, fixed deposit placements were made to the tune of N581,884,729.54 (placement and rollovers) while net withdrawals on some engagements both cash and withdrawal stood at N1,056,533,728.31.

“In summary, the total withdrawal made from the Account under the Late Emir was N2,414,577,977.35, subtracting this amount from total debit on the account which is N7,209,035,163.09.

“It is evidently clear that the current Emir is responsible for the expenditures to the total sum of N4,794,457,185.74 from the Emirate Council Account domiciled in First Bank Plc,” it said.

Similarly, it alleged that all the expenditures made by the Emirate Council were either based on the approval or instructions of Emir Sanusi.

The commission attached copy of a payment voucher in respect of one of the withdrawals to buttress its claim, which read “Being payment to the above named in respect of making special prayers for peace as directed by H.H. Emir of Kano respectively“.

“Therefore, any claim that the Emir is not the accounting officer of the Kano Emirate Council is a deception and a misrepresentation of facts.

“Specifically, the reason of our recommendation for the suspension apart from obstruction of investigation which formed the basis, investigation further reveals that Rufa’i Buhari (Senior Accountant) usually made cash withdrawals directly from the account and changed it to Dollars on behalf of the Emir.

“Sometimes direct transfers from the account are made to a Bureau De Change belonging to one Jazuli Sani who was said to have died.

“The Commission still maintains the allegation on unappropriated, seemingly personal expenditures, making the total sum of questionable expenditures uncovered by this investigation to the tune of N3,432,090,797.94 only,” the report emphasised.

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