NIGERIA: Four confirmed dead in building collapse in Umuahia

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FOUR persons have been confirmed dead after a building under construction collapsed in Agbama Housing Estate, Umuahia, Abia state capital.

Four other persons sustained various degrees of injury and are now receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia.

The identity of the victims was not ascertained as at press time. However, unconfirmed information pieced together from some residents claimed that a family of four was involved.

The incident occurred Wednesday night at about 8 o’clock  which threw the entire Umuahia city into confusion as no such a thing has ever happened here before.

The reason for the collapse of the building was not clear but residents alleged that the owner was trying to extend the building originally designed for one storey to three stories without proper reinforcement.

Regrettably, the collapsed structure was said to belong to popular building materials merchant in the city.

The incident happened when the National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] was holding a seminar in Umuahia. NEMA officials who arrived the town that evening rushed to the scene to assist in the rescue efforts.

Security agencies, the Red Cross and other paramilitary agencies were all involved in the rescue exercise. A construction company and the state ministry of works moved in their equipments to assist in the evacuation effort.

Early visitors to the scene were the deputy governor of the state, Chief Emeka Ananaba, outgoing Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Mgba Agu Mgba, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 9 and the commissioner of Police, Usman Tilli Abuabakar. Governor Theodore Orji is out of the state in an official assignment in Abuja.

The deputy governor later went to the hospital to see the wounded and urged the hospital management to take proper care of them.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Jonathan best President Nigeria ever had – Urhobo

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The campaign for President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election received a boost Thursday with the people of Urhobo ethnic nationality in Delta State threatening to march naked on the streets of Nigeria, if Jonathan fails to seek re-election in 2015.

Describing Jonathan as the best President that Nigeria has ever had, the people listed the rare qualities and credentials of the President to justify their insistence that he must be returned in 2015 to consolidate the gains already recorded by him.

The Urhobo natives, who made their position, clear when they met with the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, in Abuja on Thursday, stated that Jonathan had impressed them and that they would still vote for him in the next election.

The leader of the Movement for the Survival of Urhobo Ethnic Nationalities, Chief Rex Anigoro, pointed out that contrary to the castigation of Jonathan for weakness and non-performance, the President had actually surpassed the mark attained by his predecessors.

“We make bold to say that in 2015 we will still vote for President Jonathan because of his outstanding performance so far. But let us warn that if he refuses to run, we will march naked through the streets of Nigeria to compel him to do so.

“Tell Mr. President that the Urhobo people stand solidly behind him because for the first time in the history of Nigeria a President has declared state of emergency with democratic institutions still intact, the railway system that had since been abandoned is back while the power sector is receiving a boost just as strikes in our universities have ended.

“And we are very proud of President Jonathan because of all Nigeria’s presidents, he is the most educated, most responsible and responsive, most experienced and most qualified to run this country and did not emerge out of accident as some people will want to say.

“We want Nigerians to know that Jonathan is not an accidental President but a well trained leader, who has proved that it is possible for any Nigerian to lead the country through the dint of hard work, dedication and commitment to the cause of their fatherland.

The Urhobo group however castigated the recent attempt by some of their natives to forge an alliance with the Arewa youths with a view to achieving some political ambitions in 2015, saying that those persons did not have the mandate of the generality of the people to do so.

The Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta, Kingsley Kuku, used the forum to brief the Urhobo group on steps so far taken by the Jonathan’s administration to restore peace in the Niger Delta through the Amnesty programme and called on them to continue to work for peace progress of the nation.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: I’m building a school this year, says Davido

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Davido not only has big dreams for his future, he wants to leave a legacy behind as he recently announced plans to build affordable schools across the country.

Davido made the announcement via social networking site twitter.

Building a school this year… We looking 4 land.. Gonna start with Osun State then move to other states! #providing affordable education. He tweeted.

Davido is still basking from the success of his last single, Gobe.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigerian Economy Grew by 6.56% as Inflation Rises to 9.1%

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The Nigerian economy grew by 6.56 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2013 helped by growth in the non-oil sector as the composite Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation rose to 9.1 per cent in April compared to the 8.6 per cent recorded in March.

Although the inflation rate remained at single-digit, it however, increased by 0.55 per cent above the 8.6 per cent recorded in March.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its latest CPI which index released Thursday blamed the rise in the headline index on higher price levels of food products due to the effect of declining inventories.

Meanwhile, the country's Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), though higher than the 6.34 per cent achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2012, fell short of the 6.99 per cent recorded in the fourth-quarter of last year.

The NBS, in its 2012 and first quarter 2013 GDP Estimates, which was also released yesterday, said the non-oil sector growth was enhanced by growth in the building and construction, hotels, real estate services, finance and insurance, manufacturing and solid minerals among others.
The sector recorded a 7.89 per cent growth in real terms in Q1 2013 compared to the 8.14 per cent achieved in the coresponding quarter of 2012.

However, growth in the sector was said to have declined following the relative decline in agriculture, telecommunications and wholesale and retail trade.
Real agricultural GDP in Q1 2013 stood at 4.14 per cent or about 0.23 per cent decline, compared to  the 4.37 per cent recorded in Q1 2012.

On the other hand, it said the oil sector contributed about 14.75 per cent to real GDP in the period under review, compared to 15.80 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2012 and 12.59 per cent in Q4 of last year.

The NBS also put the daily average crude oil production at 2.29 barrels per day in Q1 2013, compared to the 2.35 barrels per day in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
The figures, when compared to the associated gas components represented a growth rate of -0.54 per cent in oil GDP in Q1 2013 compared with -2.32 per cent in Q1 2012.

It said the output in the oil sector had decreased in Q1 2013 relative to the corresponding quarter due to disruptions as a result of pipeline vandalism, oil bunkering and the force majure declared by Agip during the period of review.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Sambo Urges Nigerians to Contribute to National Development

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Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo has charged members of the Nigerian Community in Belgium to contribute positively to the development of their country and to at all times be good ambassadors of Nigeria by projecting a positive image of their country in all their dealings

The vice president made this call  Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Brussels where he met and interacted with members of the Nigerian community and their friends in Belgium.
Arc Sambo used the opportunity to inform the gathering of the progress made by the country in the socio-economic and political spheres since their assumption of office.

He stated that the country has reached a GDP Growth rate average of about 7 per cent  with the non-oil sector continuing to be a major driver of the economy and that power generation has steadily improved while more emphasis was being placed on exploring alternative sources of power generation, distribution and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for participation of the private sector.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: FG to Float Sinking Fund for Repayment of Matured Bonds

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 The Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Dr. Abraham Nwankwo Thursday disclosed plans by the federal government to create a sinking fund to enable repayment of part of maturing FGN bonds.

The purpose, according to him, is to ensure that money is not borrowed to refinance existing debts so as to avoid the accumulation of debts.

Although no amount has been specified for the sinking fund, the DMO is expected to advise the federal government on annual basis on the figure to be provided based on the debt maturity profile.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on the implications of the recent approval of the new Medium-Term Debt Management Strategy 2012-2015, by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), he explained that the new debt strategy was expected to significantly reduce the amount spent on debt servicing by achieving an optimal mix between the relatively more expensive domestic loans and the less costly external borrowing.

He said going by the new debt plan, the DMO anticipates achieving a more balanced public debt portfolio-preferably, in the ratio of 60 to 40 for domestic and external debt, respectively as against the current posture of ratio of 88 per cent for domestic and 12 per cent for external loans.
He put the difference between the domestic and external average cost of borrowing at about eight per cent per annum.

The DMO boss said going forward, the guiding principle for all borrowings would be value for money and targeted at specific projects such as the power sector to that monies borrowed are strictly used for the purposes for which they are obtained.

He said the new strategy would stabilise and deepen the domestic debt market to attract the inflow of more foreign investments into the country as government would be leaving ample space for the private sector to borrow from the domestic market.

According to him, the debt strategy, which is the first in the country, also has the potential to create more borrowing space for the private sector to access long-term funds to grow the real sector, as well as to encourage them to play prominent role in the development of critical infrastructural projects for economic growth.

He added that the new measure would help attain appropriate mix in terms of currency composition, interest rate structure and concessional versus commercial borrowing among other positive prospects.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Market Hits Five-year High, Gains N142bn in 3 Days

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Read Time:1 Minute, 48 Second

Bolstered by positive reactions by investors to impressive  financial results of some companies yesterday, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index climbed to a  five-year high of 36,400.16.

The last time the benchmark index hit that level was November 2008. But a three-day market rally, which began on Tuesday, lifted the index to close at 36,400.16 while the market capitalisation stood at N11.636 trillion.
Market operators said the market had sustained a  bull rally for three consecutive days  because  demand for equities  had remained high in a harvest season where shareholders are getting billions of naira in dividends for  the 2012 financial year.

“Given the first quarter results, which are equally impressive, some investors are reinvesting part of their dividend for the 2012 year. This, coupled with the general positive outlook, has kept demand for equities high,” Mike Ezeh of Crane Securities Limited said.
The three-day bull run has led to a growth of N142 billion in market capitalisation of the exchange.

A total of 42 stocks appreciated in price yesterday while 22 dropped. Cadbury Nigeria Plc which reported a growth of 184 per cent in profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013, was among the price gainers. The stock rose by N1.99 to close at N44.00 per share.
However, CAP Plc led the price gainers’ table with N3.02, trailed by Okomu Oil Palm Plc with N2.92. International Breweries Plc, Glaxosmithkline Consumer Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, and National Salt Company of Nigeria Plc chalked up N2.37, N1.50, 1.47 and N1.03 respectively.

Conversely, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc led the price losers with N0.65, followed by Mansard Insurance Plc with N0.20. Diamond Bank Plc shed N0.19, just as May & Baker Nigeria Plc and RT. Briscoe Nigeria Plc dropped N0.18 apiece.
Meanwhile, investors traded 380.9 million shares valued N3.533 billion in 5,638 deals. The financial services sector dominated the activity chart with 270.813 million shares valued at N2.069 billion exchanged in 3,089 deals.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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European Central Bank Rate Cut Talk Rressures Euro, Lifts Bunds

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(Reuters) – The euro slipped against the dollar and German bond prices rose on Thursday on investor positioning for more monetary easing by the European Central Bank following a run of weak economic data.

Those expectations are likely to be reinforced when euro zone inflation data for April is released at 0900 GMT (5 a.m. EDT), which is expected to show an annual rate of just 1.2 percent, well below the central bank's target range.

"I think it will confirm in everyone's mind there is no inflation risk," said Sarah Hewin, senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank, reports Reuters.

The euro slipped 0.2 percent to $1.2860, having hit a six-week low of $1.2843 on Wednesday. The main German bond futures contract was 10 ticks higher at 144.78.

European shares were supported by the rate cut expectations but opened little changed after hitting fresh multi-year highs on Wednesday. The FTSE Eurofirst .FTEU3 index of top European shares was 0.1 percent lower in early trade.

Earlier, Asian markets had risen on news that Japan's economy grew 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the quickest pace in a year and beating expectations for a growth rate of 0.7 percent.

"There's now proof that Abenomics is working and that the economy is on a solid footing." said Yoshiki Shinke, senior economist, Dai-Ichi Life Research Institute in Tokyo.

However, Japan's Nikkei index ended down 1 percent after having hit a fresh 5-1/2-year high though it is up nearly 44 percent so far this year.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Rating for Buffett’s Berkshire Cut by S&P

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(Reuters)- Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) had its credit rating cut one notch by Standard & Poor's, which cited a new methodology for evaluating insurers and Berkshire's dependence on its insurance business for dividend income.
The rating was cut to "AA" from "AA-plus," and S&P assigned a "negative" outlook, suggesting another cut could occur within a few years. S&P left its credit and financial strength ratings for Berkshire's insurance operating units at "AA-plus."

Thursday's downgrade brings S&P's rating in line with the "Aa2" rating that Berkshire holds from Moody's Investors Service. Those ratings are the agencies' third-highest, reports Reuters.
"The lower credit rating on Berkshire better reflects our view of Berkshire's dependence on its core insurance operations for most of its dividend income," S&P analyst John Iten wrote.

Jeff Matthews, a Berkshire shareholder who has written books about the company, said S&P's concerns appeared overblown, citing the insurance units' profitability and the $73 billion of "float," or money held between when policyholders make payments and claims are paid, they provide to help Berkshire invest.
"Which would S&P rather have, a lousy insurance underwriter with 'non-volatile' investments, or a world-class insurance underwriter with world-class, if sometimes 'volatile,' investments?" he asked.

Berkshire was rated "triple-A" by Moody's and S&P as recently as 2009. It lost the ratings after the global financial crisis boosted potential liabilities, and Buffett bought the railroad Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp for $26.5 billion.
S&P said that while Berkshire retains a "very strong financial risk profile," with noninsurance operations generating a majority of operating profit, only Burlington Northern provides a significant portion of total dividends paid by those operating companies to the parent holding company.

Other negative factors cited by S&P include Berkshire's "high tolerance" for equity investments, which totaled $95.9 billion as of March 31 and can add capital volatility, and Berkshire's eventual need to replace the 82-year-old Buffett.
At Berkshire's annual meeting on May 4, Buffett said the company's board was "solidly in agreement" on an unnamed internal executive to step in as chief executive if needed.

Berkshire has said it plans to install other people as chief investment officer, and Buffett's son Howard as non-executive chairman. Warren Buffett holds the CIO and chairman roles.
S&P's outlook stems from a ratings cap for financial companies linked to the United States' "AA-plus" rating, as well as capital risks at the insurance units, especially if they were to add investment risk exposure or fund a large acquisition.

The S&P downgrade had no effect on Berkshire's bond prices. The 4.3 percent bonds maturing in 2043 that a finance unit sold last week rose 1.2 cents on the dollar to 99.7 cents, according to bond pricing service Trace.
In Thursday trading, Berkshire Class A shares closed down $1,637 at $167,303, and Class B shares fell $1.23 to $111.54.

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Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: ‘CBN Not Responsible for Scarcity of News Banknotes’

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Read Time:1 Minute, 57 Second

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  Thursday refuted the news making the rounds that it is responsible for the artificial scarcity of new naira experienced in some part of the country.

The central bank in a statement explained that it “operates a clean note policy and not a mint policy,” saying that “deposit money banks (DMBs) and other customers will only be paid in clean notes made up of processed and mint notes”.

The CBN further stated that in line with this policy, it had established channels of distribution through which it disburses clean naira notes to all DMBs licensed to operate in Nigeria. However, it stressed that it always give out lower denominations of N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes to commercial banks in mint.

The statement quoted the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, to have also debunked the allegation that officials of the central bank were in the practice of hoarding new currency notes only to release same to their agents, who pay them commissions after selling the mint naira notes to interested members of the public.

Furthermore, the CBN clarified that it is not responsible for the supply of cash to Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), saying that ATMs are owned and deployed by DMBs, as well as independent outfits.

“It is the responsibility of these banks and these other licensed outfits to generate and load ATM-fit banknotes into the cash dispensing machines from cash deposits. Mint notes are not ATM-fit notes and the responsibility of CBN is to issue cash to its customers by way of cash withdrawals. The CBN only distributes cash to the commercial banks which in turn supply the ATMs of their respective banks,” it added.

While disclosing that exchange windows existed at CBN branches nationwide for the swapping of old and worn out currency notes for new ones by citizens, at no extra cost, Okoroafor said the CBN did not deal with private customers as commercial banks. It is the responsibility of commercial banks to interface with their customers in terms of naira notes, he added.

“In its determination to nip the unwholesome practice in the bud, the CBN has perfected its plan of trailing such currency notes being sold to individuals, using the serial numbers," it added.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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