Sunday Trust online

New Year: A mixed grill

As Nigerians celebrated the commencement of the New Year last Friday, major commercial activities were paralyzed in the nation’s capital city, Abuja.

Sunday Trust observed that the streets which were always bubbling with activities were deserted as majority of the residents had travelled to their hometowns.

Those who did not travel, however, celebrated the yuletide with their loved ones in the various parks and gardens that dot the city center.  On the New Year’s Eve, various churches in the city were packed with Christians who came to make restitutions and offer prayers for the New Year.

Besides empty streets in Abuja, most markets were also empty and devoid of the usual commercial activities.

In some parts of the country, long queues that featured prominently in the last part of the year refused to go. In Lagos for instance, filling stations lacked products to dispense leading to chaotic long and winding queues. Many motorists spent several hours on Friday trying to get supply.

Pastor Paul Lasisi, a motorist expressed frustration at the development, describing the attitude of some fuel attendants as “criminal”.

He said that some fuel attendants create artificial scarcity by selling from one pump when they had supply in all the pumps.

“We don’t need to spend hours at a fuel station if more pumps were used. But because they want to make money, they punish us unnecessarily,’’ he said.

The free bus ride offered to members of public by the Lagos State government affected commercial bus operators who were seen frantically looking for passengers.

One of the commercial bus drivers, Clifford Okeke, explained that the free bus ride had affected his business on the New Year Day.

“No passenger wants to look at our side, except the passenger is going to a place where BRT buses don’t operate. I have been calling passengers from Ojota bus stop to Ojuelegba in the past 45 minutes but no one has entered my bus. Instead they are all jumping into BRT bus,’’ Okeke added.

The state government offers free BRT bus ride to people in Lagos on Sallah, Christmas, New Year Eve and New Year Days to thank residents for their patronage.


crime

Crime was equally carried into the New Year. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) said on Friday that it had intercepted 56.25 kg of heroin concealed inside car shock absorbers at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Lagos.

 The agency said the car shock absorbers, which originated from Pakistan, were intercepted at the cargo section of the airport.

NDLEA Head, Public Affairs, Mr Mitchell Ofoyeju, in a statement, said  that a clearing and forwarding agent, Yekini Shittu, was being quizzed by the anti-narcotic agents over the incident.

 Ofoyeju also said an airport taxi driver, Kamoru Gbadamosi, had been declared wanted in connection with the unlawful importation of the substance.

“The seizures were the single largest of heroin made in 2009. A drug cartel had wanted to smuggle the drug into the country on two separate occasions in November and December 2009 when NDLEA officials uncovered the plots,” he said.

Ofoyeju quoted the chairman of the agency, Alhaji Ahmadu Giade, as having expressed satisfaction with the success of Operation West Bridge under the MOU entered by Nigeria and the UK.

According to him, the more united law enforcement agencies are the more disunited drug cartels will become.

 The NDLEA spokesman disclosed that the first consignment was sent through Emirate cargo flight number EK 783 with airway bill number 176-1360 5561 on November  20, 2009.

“A total of 120 pieces of heroin, weighing 28kg were found hidden inside car shock absorbers packed in three wooden crates.

 “A 45-year-old clearing and forwarding agent at the cargo section of the airport is assisting narcotic investigators in the case,’’ he said. Ofoyeju explained that NDLEA Airport Commander, Alhaji Hamza Umar, had pledged to intensify surveillance at MMIA following the successful interception of the second consignment.

“It was declared as auto-parts from Lahore, Pakistan aboard Kenya airline flight KQ532 that arrived Nigeria on December 23, 200. When examination was conducted on the consignment of shock absorbers on December 31, pieces of drugs similar to the first seizure that tested positive to heroine weighing were found in it,’’ he stated.


tregedy

The day also witnessed the tragic death of a Kano-based Hausa actress. The popular Hausa film star Hauwa Ali Dodo was among those who died in a motor accident on Friday along Saminaka between Plateau and Kaduna State.

Secretary General, Kano state Film Makers Association, Malam Baba Karami, told journalists that the star was returning to Kano from Jos with few others in the car when the accident happened.

Before her death, Dodo was a popular artiste who played a prominent role in the development of the Hausa film industry in Northern Nigeria.

She featured in many movies and was until her death, very prominent in her acting career.

She died at the age of 35 leaving behind her mother and brothers.  

Hausa filmmakers said they would live to remember her contributions to the industry in Kano.A

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