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Samuel Ortom undergoes ‘minor surgery’

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Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has congratulated the Osun governor-elect, Sen. Ademola Adeleke on his victory at Saturday governorship poll in the state.

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has undergone a minor surgery.

His Special Adviser on Media/Publicity, Terver Akase, disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Newsmen report that the social media in the past few days had been awash with insinuations on Ortom’s health following pictures of plaster on his head.

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Some citizens had demanded explanation to clear their doubts about the rumours being peddled over the governor’s health.

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Reacting, Akase said it became necessary to dispel such rumours as he explained that the governor’s health is nothing to worry about.

“A number of people have asked questions about the plaster on Governor Samuel Ortom’s forehead in the last few days.

“As a Governor whose wellbeing is the concern of his people, it is appropriate that we inform Benue people at all times about his engagements, health and movements.

“Like any other human being, Governor Ortom had a boil on the right side of his forehead and had a minor surgery. The plaster was placed to prevent infection. It is nothing serious to worry about.

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“We deeply appreciate all the calls and questions from the good people of Benue State. Governor Ortom is in sound health and has continued to carry out his engagements, one of which is today’s Official Commissioning of the reconstructed and upgraded Aper-Aku Lodge at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi by the Ag. BOT Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Adolphus Wabara,” Akase said.

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News

Edo government sets to lift ban on gold mining in Dagbala community

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Edo government sets to lift ban on gold mining in

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The Edo State Government has assured stakeholders that it will lift the ban on gold mining in the Dagbala Community, Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Engr. Ethan Uzamere, gave the assurance during the inspection of buildings for security personnel in the community as part of efforts to improve security in the area.

The state government had placed a ban on gold mining in Dagbala Community due to the influx of terrorists which posed threats to the safety of lives and property of residents in the community.

Uzamere at the inspection said the mines in the community were shut down last year due to insecurity and for necessary security infrastructure to be in place for mining activities before the reopening of the mining sites.

He noted, “It is unfortunate that what should bring a lot of development to the community has instead brought a lot of problems in terms of security. The community has several roles to play in sustaining security because they live here and have more intelligence than anybody. They know who is not from the community when they see them in the area.

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“Basically, we’re here to inspect the buildings that were donated to security operatives and visit some of the mining sites. We are very satisfied and impressed with the buildings donated. This shows how the mining industry is important to this community as they were fully donated by both the community and the miners’ association in Dagbala.”

The commissioner added, “We will now give back our findings on what we are going to do regarding the mining sites.”

“The state has its own security network. I know the community has its own vigilante. Everybody has to work together to ensure the safety of the people at the mining sites and the community itself,” Uzamere noted.

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Earlier in his address, the Okaku I of Dagbala Community, His Royal Highness Albert Agbebaku Okogbe lauded the state government commitment to lifting the embargo on mining, which he said is a major concern to the community.

“Anybody that is not concerned about the reopening of all the mining sites in Dagbala Community is an enemy of progress. We shall work in synergy with all security apparatus to ameliorate illegal mining and influx of bandits to achieve peace and progress.”

Representative of licensed miners in the community, Shaba Stephen said, “the removal of illegal miners has been done by the community and the legitimate miners. The community is now void of the crowd perpetrating illegal mining. We have also provided buildings for the various security agencies for offices and residences and have entered an agreement with the community that anybody who is not a licensed miner will be immediately reported to the appropriate agency.”

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The Deputy Commandant, Edo State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Akinluko Richard said, “We are here to protect government critical infrastructure. We cannot continue to fold our hands while the government continues to lose resources. We’re prepared to make sure that the sector is safe as we will guard it with all our strength.”

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Delta government expresses concern as farmer loses over N70 million rice farm to flood

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The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, in Delta State, Godfrey Enita, on Thursday expressed concern over the extent of damage wrought by flood on a rice farm in the state.

The commissioner spoke with reporters after inspecting a 100 hectare rice farm taken over by flood at the Benin-Owena River Basin Authority in Ngegwu, Ajaji–Illah, Oshimili North Local Government Area of the state.

According to Enita, the damage to the rice farm is huge.

“In fact, when the report got to me, I did not know that it was of this magnitude.

“When I first saw the video, most part of the farm was above the water but as you can see, more than 70 per cent of the entire rice farm land is under water.

“That tells you how massive the loss is. But I must commend the farmer, he is a dogged person because of his commitment.

“These are people the government should encourage, particularly for someone who had invested much and only to experience this huge loss due to flooding,” he said.

Enita said the state government would liaise with the appropriate authorities to give the farmer the necessary support to remain in business.

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He said the magnitude of damage was enough to discourage the farmer, if nothing was done to “keep him afloat”.

The commissioner said how to ensure food security would remain a national discussion.

He said the issues of flooding should occupy the centre stage, if the nation must sustain the policy on food security.

“We are aware that dams will be opened and flooding will come but why something tangible has not been done to stem it over the years is what we cannot understand.”

The commissioner said there was nothing much the state government could do to stop the flooding.

“But we will continue to support our farmers in all ways possible to give them hope and encourage them to stay in their businesses,” Enita said.

On his part, the Managing Director, Merrybell Rice Farm, Felix Okonti, who lost 50 hectares (about 250 metric tonnes of rice) farm to the flood, said that his total loss was about N72 million.

According to Okonti, the total hectare under the river basin land development is 100 hectares which was leased to the Delta State Government Ministry of Agriculture Assisted Rice production.

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“Out of this, I own 50 hectares, and because we are mindful that there will be flood, we first planed planting 44, but due to delay in inputs, we opted for flood resistant variety, called Buga rice variety from Jos which we planted in this field.

“We did not envisage that the height of flood will be this high, normally, this variety is supposed to withstand the flood but this is not the situation.

“As you can see, it has covered all the plants and going by the average of five to seven tonnes of rice per hectare, the gravity of loss is colossal.

“It takes about 120 days (three months) for this variety to mature, and these have reached 72 days when the flood came and as you can see, there is nothing to salvage from the farm.

Okonti, who encouraged himself said that despite the loss he would venture into dry season rice farming from November.

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“According to him, the farm is insured and give the current market price, the total loss is put at about N72 million.

He, however, advised the federal government, as the manager of river basins and inland waterways, to construct the needed dams along the River Niger/Benue Basin to absorb the waters that cause havoc along the states in the area.

Newsmen reported that the commissioner in company of the Permanent Secretary, Ben Agamah, and Okonti, among others, paddled on a canoe through the flooded rice farm to check the extent of damage.

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Politics

Thousands rally in Abuja as Peter Obi’s campaign ramps up momentum across Nigeria

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Thousands rally in Abuja as Peter Obi’s campaign ramps up momentum across Nigeria

Thousands of Nigerians trooped out on Saturday in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to demonstrate their support for Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi.

Mr Obi’s supporters are currently marching fromUnity Fountain to the Moshood Abiola National Stadium and subsequently City Gate in the country’s capital Abuja.

Some prominent public figures that featured in the rally being held on September 24 in the FCT include Ken Asogwa and human rights lawyer Abdul Mahmud.

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Since clinching the Labour Party’s presidential ticket, Mr Obi’s support groups have organised marches in several states across the country.

Amidst the growing momentum for Mr Obi’s presidential bid, the political establishment across party lines has tried to undermine possible results, with many insinuating that the newly reawakened worker’s party does not have the “structure” to win at the polls.

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