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Don’t Destroy My Indian Hemp Farm, Kill Me Instead – Suspect Tells NDLEA

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A suspected Indian hemp farmer, Clement Akor, has begged the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to take his life instead of destroying his 10-hectare cannabis plantation.

Akor, a 42-year-old father of six from Enabo village in the Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State, and his accomplice, David Ameh, were arrested by the Kogi State Command of the NDLEA.

Akor, who claimed to have invested so much in the business and could not afford to lose everything, said he learnt dealing in Indian hemp from Owo, Ondo State.

The suspect, who cried profusely and attempted to stop the men of the NDLEA, led by the commander, Alfred Adewumi, from destroying his farm in Oketepe, Okula community, about 10 kilometres from Ejule, said he preferred to die than watch the officers destroy what he worked hard for in the last one year.

He noted that he was aware of the ban on the sale of Indian hemp, but insisted that it was a risky business.

Akor stated, “I am the owner of this farm. I learnt it in Yorubaland. When I cultivated the produce last year, it was stolen. So, this year, I bought the seed from Yorubaland and planted it before I was caught.

“The Indian hemp business is by luck. In this farm, I can get many bags. I do sell one bag for N20,000, depending on the area where I am selling it to. It can be me more. I spent N12,000 on cultivating this farm. It is better for you people to kill me than destroy this farm.”

“This is my business. I spent a lot to allow this plant to grow up to this level. In the next two weeks, I am supposed to harvest it. Now, you people have come here to destroy it. Just kill me so that I won’t see you people destroying what I have laboured for. I am looking for money because I am illiterate. I don’t want to engage in armed robbery or kidnapping, that is why I am into this business of Indian hemp cultivation and sale.”

Adewumi, however, calmed him down but insisted that the war against illicit drug use was on course in the state.

Addressing journalists shortly after the destruction of the farm, Adewumi lamented the increasing wave of cultivation illicit and use of cannabis sativa in the state.

He stated that the two suspects were arrested through intelligent gathering by officers of his command.

The commander noted that the latest breakthrough came three days after the command arrested Endurance Samson and Abah Sunday for alleged possession of 36.2 kilograms of Indian hemp.

Adewumi stated, “What you are seeing today is certainly more than three football fields put together.  Just look around that is a huge expanse of cultivated cannabis land. We just left the first farm, which is equally a huge cannabis plantation.

“This is very unfortunate. I am worried about this unfortunate development. I have thought that Kogi State will not descend to this point. As things stand today, it will be self denial to begin to say that Kogi State is not planting cannabis sativa, because the evidence itself suggests the fact that there is high rate of cannabis sativa cultivation in the state.”

He added that the suspects would be charged as soon as investigation was concluded into the case.

The Punch

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World Tourism Day: WIBAT Concludes Successful Tour of Epe, Opens City to Tourism

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In celebration of the 2020 World Tourism Day, the Lagos chapter of Women in Business and Tourism (WIBAT), has taken a deserved tour of the ancient city of Epe in Lagos State, drawing out the hitherto uncharted tourism potential therein.

Leveraging on this year’s theme, “Tourism and Rural Development” the group, led by the CEO, Connoisseur Travel and Tours, Mrs Joana Owolabi, dared to bring Epe town to limelight in global tourism, giving it a head up as first choice in domestic tourism.

The trip, which spanned four days, was full of adventure, fun and education, and took the group to and through the innermost parts of the endowed town.

Among places visited included the beautiful Palace of the Paramount ruler of the town, the Oloja of Epe, HRM, Oba Kamorudeen Animashaun.

The Oloja was full of praises and prayers for women, who happened to be the first women group to tour the ancient city in history. He commended the women for choosing his domain as a tourism potential to promote, especially to mark a special occasion.

”I’m very pleased to have you in our midst, especially on this special day. Let me assure you of our willingness to partner with you on future initiatives,” the Oba was quoted as saying.

The women appreciated the Oba’s reception with a surprised gift.

The team’s next port of call was the office of the Executive Chairman of Epe Local Government, Hon. Adedoyin Adesanya, whose enthusiasm at the honour knew no bounds. He thanked the women for choosing to position Epe as a tourism destination in Lagos State.

While admitting that tourism is very close to the heart to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, especially efforts to open up suburbs like Epe, he extolled the virtues of WIBAT for taking up the challenge.

The Supervisor, Envinroment and Tourism in the local government, Princess Surah Animashaun, who masterminded the adventure, also expressed her profound gratitude to the women for agreeing to explore Epe to commemorate the 2020 edition of World Tourism Day.

The team also visited many cultural, historical and educational destinations such as the popular Epe fish market where they were well received by the market women leader-Iyaloja of Oluwo Fish Market, Folashade Ojikutu, who took them on a tour of the market.

The highpoint of the tour was the visit to the town’s ancient tree, which stood majestically by the road, and decked around with a cloth, symbolising its cultural and communal importance. At the site, residents, who were happy to see tourists in their town, expressed their joy at the visit.

One of them even joked at the tourists, saying “I hope you people will not allow them to be carrying out traditional monuments and totems abroad.”

Other prominent citizens of Epe, who were on ground to receive the women group are Chairman, Active Hunters Association, Epe Division, Mr. Adeleke Adesada; legislative members representing the town in the Lagos State House of Assembly and Senate, Hon Abiodun Tobun and Senator Segun Agbaje respectively, among many other dignitaries.

The first ever women tourism adventure as recorded, has been adjudged a huge success, devoid of rancour and well conducted by a professional guide.

In her vote of thanks, Princess Animashaun expressed gratitude to the women for the bringing global attention to Epe town.

The gains of the trip is expected to resonate in the coming days, surely.

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Travel Writers Urge Gov Diri to Launch Endowment Fund, Master Plan, for Tourism Development

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In comomeration of this year’s World Tourism Day celebrations across the globe, Chairman of Bayelsa Travel Writers’ Corps, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo, has called on Bayelsa State government to launch Bayelsa State Culture and Tourism Endowment Fund and tourism masterplan to drive the development and promotion of the tourism sector in the state, saying that “tourism is a catalyst that could be used to drive the local economy with a view to achieving the goals of sustainable peace and job creation”.

Mr Kiyaramo described the theme of the 2020 edition of World Tourism Day: “Tourism and Rural Development”, as appropriate, nothing that the unique role that tourism plays in providing opportunities outside of big cities and in preserving cultural and natural heritage all around the world, makes it an extremely labour intensive and significant source of employment for many global economies, informing that “the tourism sector therefore is not only an engine for economic growth, but also an effective tool for poverty alleviation among the marginalised segments of the society.

According to the travel journalist, tourism is one such activity which impacts also extends to various other sectors, making it responsible for creating direct and indirect employment and requiring varying degrees of skills which facilitate quick entry into the workforce for youth, women and poor.

Mr Kiyaramo, said the economic potentials of tourism, being the world’s largest and fastest growing industry, creates one in every eleven jobs, contributes to international and regional economic growth, adding that tourism would contribute to the protection of one of the oil state’s key assets, biodiversity, being a critical responsibility of all business sectors.

He said the Bayelsa Travel Writers’ Corps was ready to partner with government and other critical stakeholders to create tourism demand in the state, through well articulated marketing networks, intended to jumpstart critical economic trickle-down effect that would facilitate the growth of community based enterprises, which would lead to job creation and poverty alleviation.

The travel journalists’ chairman, stressed that in the light of the developmental challenges in the state, there was need for synergy and collaboration to expand institutional support for tourism development and promotion.

He also proposed a “One Village, One Product” pilot scheme to assist local communities in the state to discover their rich cultural tourism resource with a view to regenerating their cultural infrastructure, which will lead to social transformation and civic renewal, through various conservation initiatives for the vast ecological and cultural heritage of the state.

The tourism activist and media consultant who spoke to travel writers in Yenagoa, capital city of Bayelsa State in comomeration of this year’s World Tourism Day, reiterated the urgent need to develop the huge coastal tourism potentials in the oil rich littoral state.

He regretted that, though the state boasts of fine beaches comparable to any one in other parts of the world in addition to the rich wetlands, no attention has been paid to the huge marine tourism potentials in the area, pointing out that the state government could leverage on tourism to explore the potentials, with a view to creating job opportunities in rural communities.

Mr Kiyaramo, popularly known as “Mr Tourism in Bayelsa state”, was of the view that these fine beaches located in Koluama, Akassa, Odioma, Okpoama, Agge, Foropah and Ekeni-Ezetu, could provide huge investment opportunities in the the travel and tourism sub sector of the local economy, pointing out that the beaches in the state.

He maintained that the beaches which spread across several local governments should boast of standard hotels and marine recreational facilities to cater for the leisure needs of tourists among other tourism infrastructures that would boost the local economy.

He said Bayelsa Travel Writers’ Corps, a beat association under the Bayelsa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), which comprises travel reporters, photographers, cameramen, film editors and tour guides was willing to collaborate with government to promote tourism, through the promotion of arts, crafts and festivals, including creek boat shows to create opportunities for the local populace, particularly the youth to develop talents, in order to sustain the growing peaceful atmosphere in the state.

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Gas Explosion Injures 30, Destroys 23 Buildings, Event Centre, Vehicles in Lagos

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30 persons were injured and about 15 vehicles reportedly destroyed by fire on Thursday after a tanker conveying gas exploded at Balogun Bus stop, in the Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State, .

PUNCH Metro learnt that two gas tankers were being offloaded at a gas station in the area when one of the tankers, a 30 tonnes LPG tanker, exploded around 3pm.

It was gathered that the discharging valve of the tanker, which was compromised, led to leakage and ignited fire.

The fire, which spread to adjoining buildings, affected 23 buildings and 35 shops, destroying property worth millions of naira.

Our correspondent learnt that officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Lagos State Fire Service, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Red Cross were at the scene of the incident.

The Head of Public Affairs of LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, said no life was lost.

He said, “It was discovered that a 30 tonnes LPG tanker being operated by Manna Gas Ltd was involved in an explosion which destroyed several vehicles, X and Y Event Centre and a plank market.

“It was discovered that a compromised seal device by the truck driver led to gradual leakage, which then ignited when the tyres burst. The impact of the explosion led to fire at adjoining buildings and several vehicles were burnt.

“Thirty people were found to have serious injuries and were taken to various hospitals, while two in critical conditions were referred to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.”

However, the Acting Coordinator of the Lagos Territorial Office of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said 15 people were injured.

He said, “One of the gas tankers wanted to enter into Manna Gas Refiling Plant and before it could get access inside, it exploded and affected the second gas tanker and other domestic gas cylinders in the gas plant also exploded.

“The explosion affected 18 buildings housing 35 shops; no residential building was affected.

“Fifteen people had various degrees of injury and were taken to Iju Waterworks Clinic, while two were referred to the general hospital; 16 vehicles were burnt.”

The Acting Head of the State Fire Service, Margaret Adeseye, said the Ajuwon, Agege and Alausa Fire stations were mobilised to the scene.

The Punch

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