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Breaking: Protesting Sports Festival Contingents Block Major Road, Say ‘We Have No Food, No Allowance’

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Protesting contingents of the aborted 2020 National Sports Festival otherwise known as Edo 2020, Thursday, March 19, blocked the popular Ekewan road, Benin City.

Ekewan road is the major road that links Ekewan barracks, Ekewan, Evboutubu, Ugbiyouko, Asoro, Agho and other areas of Benin metropolis.

The protest, though peaceful, led to the blocking of Joromi to Agho junctions portion of the road, as vehicular movement were restricted, exposing commuters who are going back to their homes after the day’s job to untold hardship.

The ever busy Ekewan road deserted by motorists as a result of the protest

Speaking to Info Daily in an exclusive chat, one of the contingents who does not want his name mentioned, said they decided to show their grievances over negligence on the side of the authorities concerned.

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The contingent who claimed majority of the persons who were peaceful protesting are staff of the Edo State Sports Council, revealed that they ( the contingents) have been camped for the past two weeks without allowance, good care.

“You see, majority of the persons you’re seeing here are members of the Edo State Sports Council. The National Sports Festival has been postponed, good and fine but what about our allowances. We have been camped for the past two weeks in preparation for the sports festival but let me tell you that we have not been paid a single day allowance; we are not taken good care of.

“Take for insurance, since morning, we have not been given food; no money. Since they camped us here, they don’t care if we exist”, he said.

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He therefore called on the authorities concern to pay their allowances and other fringes they are entitled to.

The ever busy Ekewan road which under construction (dualization) by the Obaseki govt turned ghost of itself because of the protest.

“We cannot be here for the past two weeks without anything. Is it because the sports festival has been suspended we will not be paid for the weeks we have been here? They should pay us our two weeks allowance. Most of us have family, so we can’t leave our homes for good two weeks without anything.

Speaking to Info Daily on phone on the protest, Edo State
commissioner for Sports and Youth, Damian Lawani, said he is not aware of such protest, adding that he needed to contact the state Deputy Governor whom according to him is in charge of the sports festival.

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“Well, I am not aware of such protest to the extent of blocking major road. I will actually need to contact the Deputy Governor to know the real story. He is in charge so I need to hear from him to confirm”, he said.

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World Earth Day: Environmentalist Advocates End to Plastic Wastes to Save Mother Earth

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In commemoration of the 2024 World Earth Day, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) – Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has called for a drastic reduction in the use of plastics to save planet Earth from suffocation.

World Earth Day is an annual event celebrated April 22, and it is designed to shed light on serious environmental problems faced from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation. This year’s World Earth Day was themed: ‘Planet Vs Plastic.’

In commemoration of the Day, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, HOMEF, in a statement made available to INFO DAILY by Kome Odhomor, Media/Communication Lead, HOMEF, advocated for urgent action to ban the production and
usage of single-use plastics.

Bassey, while calling on everyone to be involved in efforts to kick out plastics, urged humans to build a liveable future for humans, other beings, and natural systems.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Air: EFCC Arrests Ex-Buhari’s Minister Over N8bn Fraud

He said: “World Earth Day reminds us as humans that the Earth is ours to protect and preserve but over time humans have abandoned their roles in protecting the planet because of selfishness and drive for profit.

“We stand united in our fight against non-biodegradable waste pollution. Our addiction to single-use plastics suffocates the planet.

“Plastics can take hundreds of years to decompose, clog our water bodies, and cause harmful impacts as a result of their chemical composition. Sadly, the
world is literally a plastic civilisation due to a vested interest in hydrocarbons and ease of application.”

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He continued: “Now is a critical time to choose between planet and plastic. Good sense tells us to choose the planet, our Mother Earth that sustains all lives. A poor sense driven by profit urges humans to choose plastics because of the ease they bring, despite the harmful impacts on our health, climate, and overall health of the planet.

“As we mark World Earth Day 2024, the alarm must be sounded that it is time to uproot plastics from their fossil base or be ready to be turned
into plastic humans living plastic lives and heading to an infernal
plastic future. At HOMEF, we are all for the planet, people, and all
life forms,” Bassey said.

The Executive Director noted that research has shown that 380 million tonnes of plastic are now produced every year, while only nine percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.

He added: “Campaigns around the world calling for a 60 percent reduction in plastic by 2040 are commendable and worthy of support.

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“At Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), we believe in the intrinsic Rights of Mother Earth and the rights of humans and other
beings to be respected and to live in dignity.

“It is time to build up courage and to preserve and protect our health,
and our livelihoods by embracing alternatives that are sustainable,
healthy, and safe for the planet. We must stop all forms of destructive
extractive activities in Nigeria, Africa, and the World.

“The Planet vs Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being on our planet.

“We are submerged in a sea of plastic wastes, from our creeks to the ocean. It’s time we did better!”

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Obaseki Warns Against Open Grazing, Solicits Stakeholders’ Support

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the ban on open grazing in the state still remains, warning that anyone found wanting will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The governor said this while addressing stakeholders during an interactive session on the Edo State Regional Development and Benin City Master Plan, held at Iguobazuwa, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the State.

Obaseki who reassured the government’s commitment to the safety and security of residents, called for the collaboration and support of all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful, secure and prosperous Edo State.

He said, “Any herdsman in our bush without permission is working against the law of our State, and anything that happens, they can’t blame anyone.

READ ALSO: Edo Police Parade 21 Suspects Over Alleged Murder, Cultism, Pipeline Vandalism

“Let us be sure that nobody gives that person the permission to enter our forest and if permission will be granted, let us know the type of permission given to them to come into our bushes or forest to graze with their cattle.

“Open grazing is banned in Edo State. If they are in your forest, let us know where they are because we have police and vigilantes who will help us get them out through a number we will give you to call.”

Obaseki added, “Anybody that wants to do ranching business should contact you, the community people and you will decide on the land to use and method of feeding their cattle. They should do the business with you and not invade our forest indiscriminately as if there are no owners. The forest and bushes belong us.”

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Nigeria Air: EFCC Arrests Ex-Buhari’s Minister Over N8bn Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over an ongoing N8 billion money laundering probe of Nigeria Air.

Vanguard gathered that Sirika arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday.

Sirika is currently being quizzed by the EFCC investigators over alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

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Recall that, in February, EFCC investigated the activities of the Aviation Ministry under Sirika for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: EFCC Chair Vows To Follow Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution To Conclusion

It was gathered that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

Sirika was arrested Sunday February 4 to assist the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during his tenure.

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