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About seven persons were reportedly burnt to death on Thursday after officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps opened fire on a commercial bus on Milikin Hill Road, Enugu. It was learnt that the bus had barely left Enugu New Market, located a few kilometres from Milikin Hill, when armed civil defence officials asked the driver to stop.

The Enugu headquarters of the NSCDC is near New Market. The driver reportedly refused to stop and sped away as the NSCDC men chased the bus in a Hilux van. It was gathered that some other agents of the security agency boarded a tricycle to join in the chase along Milikin Hill Road, which is bordered on both sides by a deep valley.

Eyewitnesses said as the commercial bus was getting to the end of the road, the civil defence officers opened fire on the vehicle, causing it to veer off the road and crash into the valley. The vehicle reportedly burst into flames instantly.

Reports of the incident led to a protest by commercial bus drivers and other sympathisers, particularly natives of Ngwo town, where the passengers were reportedly heading for before they met tragic end.

Some of the drivers and youths reportedly attempted to protest at the office of the NSCDC around New Market, but heavily armed operatives repelled the protesters by barricading the road leading to the office and shooting into the air. Some commercial bus drivers, who interacted with journalists during the protest, said the NSCDC men shot at their vehicles when they approached the building.

A witness, who refused to identify himself, claimed that the driver of the commercial bus had refused to give the NSCDC a bribe before they started chasing the vehicle. “The incident happened because the driver refused to give them a bribe when they stopped him. They went after him, shot at the vehicle and seven people lost their lives” he said.

At the scene of the crash on Millikin Hill, our correspondent observed that the commercial bus was totally burnt. The charred remains of a passenger were trapped under the vehicle, which was lying on its back inside the valley.

An official of the Federal Road Safety Corps, who was at the scene of the crash, informed our correspondent that the corpses of three passengers had been moved to an undisclosed hospital morgue. There were reports that the civil defence personnel involved in the incident had been taken into custody.

But this could not be confirmed by the reporter. A towing van was eventually brought to lift the vehicle, after which the trapped corpse was removed and put in an ambulance. The body was reportedly taken to the morgue of the Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre, Enugu.

Police sources says that a girl, said to be the sole survivor of the crash, was taken to the office of the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Danmallam. Danmallam, who later arrived at the protest scene, said the girl had been hospitalised and could not talk. He said investigations had commenced, adding that some suspects had been arrested.

He said, “This type of thing should not be allowed; we have made arrests. Investigations have started and we are asking people who witnessed what happened to come forward to make statements. “We assure you that nobody involved would be allowed to go scot free. This is not the type of case that can be swept under the carpet.

“I learnt that they (NSCDC officials) were chasing the bus; but I don’t know for what offence. “I want to assure the people that nobody is above the law. Whoever breaks the law of the land will face the consequence.” He said one person died in the incident.

The Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC , Enugu State Command, Mr . Denny Manuel Iwuchukwu, told reporters that the bus driver in an attempt to abduct a civil defence officer who entered the vehicle to force the driver to stop for violating traffic regulations.

According to him, the bus fell into the valley and burst into flames while running away from the NSCDC men, who were chasing the vehicle to rescue their colleague. He said, “The state government ordered that commercial buses should no longer pick passengers outside the motor park and our men are enforcing the order.

“Today, the driver picked passengers outside the park and he was asked to stop, but he refused. So, one of our men entered the bus and the driver took off with him, thereby abducting him. “He was told to stop, but he refused. We chased him and he fell inside the ditch. Our official has been found. He was injured; he can’t even talk at the moment”

Iwuchukwu said nobody died in the accident. Efforts to get the spokesperson for the FRSC to confirm the number of casualties were not successful. Commercial bus drivers and natives of Ngwo town were still protesting as of the time of filing this report.

Source: Punch

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Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank

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Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.

The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursements from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiarieof its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000 to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.

 With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing list of global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.

The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the mission to empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating

 billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.

The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.

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Dangote Farms Commissions Tomatoes Nursery To Provide Seedlings For Farmers

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In a bid to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, owned by the younger brother of Africa’s richest man, Sani Dangote, has unveiled a N2.8 billion greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.

Speaking on the project, Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria and has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.

He stated that Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery, “we have created a capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as a potentially exporting surplus to neighboring countries.

“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.

“Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.”, Sani Dangote explained.

The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.

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Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre To AAU

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Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has made the donation of a multipurpose information technology center to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.

Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks, and chairs measure 839 square meters and have adjoining offices and conveniences.

Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.

The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.

Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.

‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.

“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world-class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.

The AAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.

He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalyzing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalizing African philanthropy, had created a strong positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.

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