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EKSG to collaborate with FG on tourism development

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji has expressed the readiness of his government to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Tourism to harness and develop untapped tourism potentials of the state and make the state a leading tourism destination in the country.

Governor Oyebanji revealed this on Monday during the 6th edition of Hike Ekiti Mountain safari which took place at Abanijorin Mountain and cave, in Iyin- Ekiti.

In attendance at the event were the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Lola Ade-John, Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Chief (Mrs) Monisade Afuye; Speaker Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Adeoye Aribasoye; Director General of NIHOTOUR, Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, among others.

The Governor said a properly harnessed tourism industry has the capacity to reshape the economy and improve the revenue base of the state, stressing that the state would leverage on tourism to attract investment, create jobs, boost the local economy and drive the shared prosperity agenda of his administration.

While expressing his gratitude to the Minister for the visit and her commitment to tourism development in the country, the Governor said her commitment speaks to the quality of people working with President Bola Ahmed Timubu to actualize the renewed hope agenda of the President.

Governor Oyebanji revealed that he has charged the state Bureau of Tourism Development to come up with the state’s tourism development master-plan in alignment with the Federal Ministry of Tourism vision to create an enabling environment for the people to prosper.

“I’m so excited that finally, we are giving life to this programme. It started six years ago and I know and am convinced that if we are going to drive our shared prosperity agenda in Ekiti state, tourism is a critical factor in ensuring that we provide job, create wealth and also emplaced a healthy and productive society.

“As a government, we have charged the bureau of tourism development to create a desirable tourism masterplan for the state, because that is what is going to drive our intervention in the tourism sector and we will further collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Tourism by ensuring that we align our own plan with their own so that together we can create an enabling environment for our people to prosper”. The Governor asserted.

Earlier in her remarks, the Minister of Tourism, Mrs. Lola Ade-John, who said the purpose of her visit was to encourage and promote the eco-tourism sector of the state, lauded Governor Oyebanji’s commitment to tourism development, especially the creation of a Bureau of tourism.

She maintained that Governor Oyebanji’s determination to prioritize tourism aligns with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s led federal government’s resolve to boost the nation’s economy through tourism development.

The Minister, who maintained that collaboration among government entities, tourism agencies, business and communities global is crucial for promoting sustainable tourism in the state, assured the Governor that her ministry would continue to support the state government to explore and tap into various beautiful tourist sites in the state in order to preserve the natural heritage for future generations.

She urged the participants to use the opportunity to contribute to the development of tourism in the state as she acknowledged that the future of Ekiti tourism looks promising .

” Collaboration among government entities, tourism agencies, business and communities global is crucial for promoting sustainable tourism in Ekiti state and beyond and as affirmed by the Governor, he is very passionate about tourism and he intends on making tourism in the state as enviable and as an example to other state in Nigeria “. The Minister said.

Meanwhile, the Governor in company of the Minister and her team had earlier visited the palace of the Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Adeniyi Ajakaye where they were informed about the various natural endowments in the community as well as the history behind the mountain “Okuta Aba ni Jorin” and solicited government’s support in preserving the cultural heritage.

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EFCC investigates more celebrities for naira abuse

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said it is investigating several celebrities suspected of abusing the Naira.

This was revealed in a statement signed by EFCC spokesperson, Dele Oyewale, on Sunday.

“On the issue of the works of the Commission against Naira abuse, dollarization of the economy and the enforcement of all extant laws relating to them, the EFCC appreciates the avalanche of public awakening, support and involvement demonstrated so far.

“Increasingly, members of the public are drawing the attention of the Commission to video recording of abuse of the Naira by Nigerians from all walks of life.

“These gestures amply demonstrate rising consciousness of the public to the sanctity of our national currency and the need for collaborative engagement to sustain the tempo.

“To this end, the Commission will always investigate and prosecute anyone involved in the abuse of the Naira.

“Old videos being exhumed and flying around for the attention of the Commission are noted as the Commission is sensitive to the fact that its Special Task Force against Naira Abuse and Dollarization of the economy commenced operations on February 7, 2024. However, going forward, new videos of such infractions will be investigated and prosecuted.

“At the moment, the Commission is investigating several celebrities involved in Naira abuse. Many of them have made useful statements to the Commission and many more have been invited by investigators working on the matter.

“The EFCC will not relent in its no-sacred-cow mode of operations and the public should be wary of running afoul of laws against the crime.”

Recall that popular cross-dresser Idris Okuneye aka Bobrisky was sentenced to six months imprisonment for abusing the Naira.

Justice Abimbola Awogboro handed down the sentence without an option of fine.

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No one has been cleared in humanitarian ministry fraud investigation- EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, says it has not cleared anyone involved in the ongoing fraud investigation in the humanitarian affairs ministry.

Spokesperson of the commission, Dele Oyewale stated this in a statement tagged ‘Setting the Records Straight on Investigations of Humanitarian Ministry’ on Sunday.

According to him,  ongoing investigation have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

The statement read;

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has noticed the rising tide of commentaries, opinions, assumptions and insinuations concerning its progressive investigations into the alleged financial misappropriation in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.

“At the outset of investigations, past and suspended officials of the Humanitarian Ministry were invited by the Commission and investigations into the alleged fraud involving them have yielded the recovery of N32.7billion and $445,000 so far.

“Discreet investigations by the EFCC have opened other fraudulent dealings involving Covid -19 funds, the World Bank loan, Abacha recovered loot released to the Ministry by the Federal Government to execute its poverty alleviation mandate.

“Investigations have also linked several interdicted and suspended officials of the Ministry to the alleged financial malfeasance.

“It is instructive to stress that the Commission’s investigations are not about individuals. The EFCC is investigating a system and intricate web of fraudulent practices.

“Banks involved in the alleged fraud are being investigated. Managing Directors of the indicted banks have made useful statements to investigators digging into the infractions.

“Those found wanting will be prosecuted accordingly. Additionally, the EFCC has not cleared anyone allegedly involved in the fraud. Investigations are ongoing and advancing steadily.

“The public is enjoined to ignore any claim to the contrary.”

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Junior Pope: NSIB launches investigation, sends team to accident site

The Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has launched an investigation into the boat accident that claimed the lives of Nollywood actor, Paul Odonwodo, popularly known as Junior Pope; Abigail Frederick; Precious Oforum, and Joseph Anointing, while returning from a movie location.

THN reported that the boat accident involved a commercial speedboat and a fishing canoe on the Anam River in Anambra State on Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

The boat carrying 12 film crew members and a boat operator reportedly crashed into the canoe, resulting in the loss of five lives.

Tthe director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB, Bimbo Oladeji in a statement on Sundat, said the Bureau has dispatched an investigation team to the accident site.

According to Oladeji, examination of the wreckage from both boats involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, eyewitnesses, and a review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat would be analysed, among others.

“The NSIB extends its deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in this heartbreaking accident.

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“Also, the director general of NSIB, Capt. Alex Badeh Jr, share in your grief and NSIB is fully committed to conducting a thorough investigation to determine the cause of this tragedy and prevent similar occurrence in the future.

“An investigation team has been dispatched to the accident site, and inquiry has begun. The investigation scope includes, but is not limited to: examination of the wreckage from both vessels involved in the collision, interviews with surviving crew members, and eyewitnesses, review of operational procedures for the commercial speed boat, analysis of weather and environmental conditions at the time of the accident, and assessment of compliance with relevant safety standards and regulations for inland waterway transportation,” NSIB spokesperson said.

Oladeji further assured Nigerians that the Bureau will release the preliminary reports of the investigation to the public.

“NSIB will collaborate with relevant authorities, including the Marine Police section of the Anambra State Police Command, maritime authorities, and industry experts during the investigation.

“The bureau will release its findings in a preliminary report, followed by a final report upon the investigation’s conclusion. These reports aim to enhance safety by providing recommendations to prevent similar accidents in the future.Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the victims affected by the Anam boat mishap,” she added.

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