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The Brazil Fans’ Village Scandal Latest: NTDC DG, Ms Sally Mbanefo gets query….

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Following series of allegations and counter allegations, the supervising ministry of Culture and Tourism has finally issued a query to the embattled Director General of Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) Ms Sally Mbanefo. Apparently irked by many allegations and petitions received on the Brazil’s FansVillage, the ministry is demanding explanation from the DG on how the event ought to promote Nigeria has degenerated into a monumental scandal.

It was exclusively gathered by Society Reporters NG that no sooner had she received the query than she assembled her strategist to work on how the entire scandal could be managed without media attention. A major step she finally took was a press briefing with news editors where she begged to be blacked out of the unfolding scandal. One of the editors who attended the briefing informed that majority of the editors were miffed at such request that they should not write anything about her except those emanating from her consultants.

The alleged one room show tagged Fans Village in Brazil

The alleged one room show tagged Fans Village in Brazil

Apart from the controversy surrounding the alleged Memorandum of Understanding between the NTDC and Za Entertainment, the ministry is equally worried about how the event ought to be a crowd pulling event ended being a one-room show.
It was gathered that the board of NTDC gave an approval for 12 persons to travel with the DG to Brazil for the tournament and the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) had been paid for that number of persons. Contrarily however, it was alleged that Mrs Mbanefo travelled to Brazil with about three journalists, the Chairman of the NTDC staff union, her daughter and Omo-Agege, without any member of the NTDC project unit in the entourage. It was still unclear who the DTA was paid to, a matter the ministry is trying to unravel.

One of the management staff of the corporation being dragged into the crisis is Fatima Obadakin whom the DG is alleging to have introduced the Za Entertainment to her. A top source however countered the allegation that Fatima’s department had since be outsource technically to a consultant simply identified as Ola Wright.

The DG and her escort without the fans.

The DG and her escort without the fans.

It would be recalled that the first international exhibition this year was FITUR held in Madrid, Spain in January. The country was expected to be represented at the event but just at the last minutes, the DG cancelled and pulled out of the event without any official explanation for such an act although reports emanating from the Abuja office attributed the withdrawal to lack of fund.

Many of the operators and even staffers of NTDC were shocked by this development as this event was captured in its budget. Therefore to many, the excuse of lack of fund was untenable as she was berated for what some observers say was her lack of understanding of the importance of global exposure for the development of a destination, particularly that of Nigeria; Which is still struggling for attention.
If many thought that what happened with FITUR in January would not repeat itself again, then they were utterly proved wrong when Ms. Mbanefo again cancelled and pulled out of the ITB Berlin event, which held between March 5 and 9. Again, reports from the Abuja office blamed lack of funds for this action.
Even though observers are beginning to notice-an emerging partner with her handling of tourism affairs, especially with international events, what many of the operators find so worrisome and disturbing was the fact that two days into the Berlin event NTDC DG flew to Berlin with about 10 persons made of a member of the board of NTDC, her staff, journalists and a member of the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN).

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Not as exhibitors as the allocated stand for Nigeria (Stand 21/118) at the Africa hall, was empty as the country has recorded ‘no show’ but as ‘observers.’ Many wonder why she would show up as an observer to an event that the country has exhibited in at least in the last one decade without fail.
Reports from the event pointed out that attempt by the Nigerian team led by her to hoist a solitary flag of the country at the empty stand or stay around was re­buffed by the organizers who were miffed by the ‘no show’ act of Nigeria after the space booked for by NTDC was reserved. This development it was gathered made the tourism ministry to write international agencies that henceforth, the ministry shall take charge of international tourism activities like exhibition.
All efforts to speak with the DG was unsuccessful as all calls made to her mobile 0706***4030 were not answered.

Part of the  'village'

Part of the ‘village’

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The Empty Village

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The Empty Village that has just Ms Sally  in it

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Olabode Olawuyi:s Dedication, Passion Will Forever Serve As An Inspiration To Us All-NBCA

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The Nigeria Biodiversity Conservation Alliance (NBCA) has stated that the dedication and passion of Mr. Olabode Olawuyi, the late veterinary technologist killed by a lion at the Zoological Garden of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), would forever serve as an inspiration.

 

NBCA stated this in a statement released on Wednesday, February 21, adding that Olawuyi’s dedication to his chosen field shone for all to see.

 

In the statement signed by Mr. Dipo Bali, NBCA said that it was deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Olawuyi, who was the former Public Relations Officer for the National Zoological Agency (NAZAP).

 

“In memory of Mr. Olabode Olawuyi, we pledge to redouble our efforts towards promoting responsible wildlife management practices and fostering a robust safety culture within the zoological and animal care fields. His dedication and passion will forever serve as an inspiration to us all.”

 

The group which described the deceased as a pillar of the Nigerian zoological community, also noted that he was lauded for his unwavering commitment to wildlife conservation and exceptional service.

 

“He had dedicated years to the OAU Zoological Garden, providing exemplary care to its resident lion, whom he had nurtured since its birth. NBCA acknowledges the ongoing investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Olawuyi’s passing.

 

“We extend our deepest condolences to his grieving family, friends, and colleagues at OAU during this difficult time. Our unwavering support stands with them as they navigate this profound loss.

 

“As an organization dedicated to wildlife protection and preservation in Nigeria, we recognize the inherent risks associated with working with wild animals. We remain steadfast in advocating for the strictest adherence to safety protocols and established guidelines to ensure the well-being of both wildlife caretakers and the animals under their care.*

 

Also, NBCA said that it remains committed to closely monitoring the situation and collaborating with relevant authorities to prevent similar tragedies from unfolding in the future, while also extending its unwavering support to the OAU Zoological Garden and its staff during this period of immense loss.

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NASRE Advises FG On Food Crisis, Forex Shortage Amid Calls To Suspend Import Ban

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As Nigeria finds itself at a critical crossroads, grappling with simultaneous challenges of a food crisis and a foreign exchange (forex) shortage.

 

This is even as the nation seeks solutions to mitigate these pressing issues, the debate over whether to open its borders for importation has intensified.

 

The food crisis gripping Nigeria has raised concerns about food security and access to essential nutrition for millions of citizens.

 

Adverse weather conditions, supply chain disruptions, and other factors have contributed to dwindling food supplies and soaring prices, placing a significant strain on households and exacerbating the vulnerability of already marginalized communities.

 

Meanwhile, the forex shortage has hampered Nigeria’s ability to import essential goods and raw materials, further exacerbating supply chain disruptions and exacerbating inflationary pressures.

 

Industries reliant on imported inputs, including agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, have been particularly hard hit, impeding economic growth and development.

 

In response to these challenges, some stakeholders advocate for opening Nigeria’s borders to facilitate the importation of food and other essential commodities.

 

Proponents argue that increased importation could help alleviate immediate food shortages, stabilize prices, and provide relief to vulnerable populations facing hunger and malnutrition.

 

However, others caution against the potential risks of opening borders amid a forex shortage. Critics raise concerns about the impact on domestic production and self-sufficiency, as well as the long-term consequences of relying heavily on imported goods. They emphasize the need to prioritize investments in domestic agriculture and infrastructure to build resilience against future crises.

 

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the government faces the daunting task of balancing short-term relief efforts with long-term strategies for sustainable development and economic resilience.

 

Proffering suggestion on how the government can address the unending inflationary pressures, Forex shortages, food prices hike and revitalise the nation’s economy, the Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors (NASRE), has advised the Nigerian government to adopt collaborative efforts involving policymakers, industry stakeholders, civil society organizations, and international partners to identify holistic solutions that address both immediate needs and underlying structural challenges.

 

On the debate over whether Nigeria should open its borders for importation amid the food crisis and forex shortage, the President of the advocacy group, Mr Femi Oyewale, underscores the urgency of coordinated action and innovative thinking.

 

According to him, now more than ever, solidarity, cooperation, and forward-thinking policies are needed to ensure the well-being and prosperity of all Nigerians.

 

“The question of whether Nigerian borders should be opened for food importation in the face of a food crisis is complex and multifaceted. However, there are factors to consider, which basically, Domestic Agricultural Capacity. Because opening borders for food importation could undermine domestic agricultural production by flooding the market with cheaper imported goods.

 

“However, if domestic production is insufficient to meet demand, importing food may be necessary to avoid shortages,” he said.

 

On the economic implications of borders opening, the President of NASRE, Oyewale, said: “Importing food can have economic ramifications, both positive and negative. On one hand, it can provide access to a wider variety of foods and potentially lower prices for consumers. On the other hand, it may negatively impact local farmers and exacerbate trade imbalances.”

 

The resourceful editors, while commenting on Food Security, pointed out that relying heavily on imported food leaves a country vulnerable to supply chain disruptions and price fluctuations in the global market. Therefore, it urged the federal government to develop a robust domestic agricultural sector, which is crucial for long-term food security.

 

According to Oyewale, the Nigerian government must consider its broader economic and agricultural policies when making decisions about food importation. This includes evaluating subsidies, tariffs, and investment in agricultural infrastructure.

 

“Importing food often involves long-distance transportation, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation. Promoting local production can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with food consumption.

 

“Food is not just a commodity; it is essential for human well-being. Government policies should prioritize ensuring access to nutritious and culturally appropriate food for all citizens, particularly those most vulnerable to food insecurity,” he added.

 

The Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors, NASRE, therefore, noted that the decision to open Nigerian borders for food importation during a food crisis should be approached cautiously, taking into account the country’s domestic agricultural capacity, economic implications, food security goals, environmental concerns, and social welfare considerations.

 

“A balanced approach that supports both domestic production and responsible trade practices may be necessary to address immediate food shortages while also promoting long-term food security and sustainability,” the Association stated.

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Lagos State Government to prosecute 11 suspects for extortion

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The Lagos State Government said 11 suspects arrested at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state will be prosecuted to serve as deterrents to others extorting residents and motorists in the state.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Olawale Musa, disclosed this while addressing journalists on Wednesday.

He added that the suspects parade themselves as enforcement officers to extort unsuspecting motorists and residents in the state.

Musa said, “Lagos State Government has declared zero tolerance for extortion of unsuspecting residents, especially motorists, by miscreants parading themselves as enforcement officers at the Ibeju-Lekki junction and Akodo area of the state.

“We have announced severally that nobody is allowed to collect money for the local government on the street of Lagos, and the government has set up a team to ensure that anybody that does that is picked up and from that Lekki axis.

“They will be charged to court to explain themselves, and I want to sound a note of warning to others that do the same thing that we will not relent; the government is all out for them.”

He noted that it is unlawful for any local government area within the state to place personnel to conduct such operations on the highways.

“If you have any issues, you call us, and we will come and address them, but when you have people coming on the road on the guise that you want to have revenue at this hard time, collecting money from motorists on the road is not fair, and it is illegal in Lagos State to resist it.

“It is illegal for any local government area in the state to deploy people on the roads as it negates the Lagos State Road Traffic Law, Section 18, 2018, which empowers only the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to carry out such operations on the roads,” he added.

In March 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Lagos State Government arrested four suspected hoodlums in some parts of the state over extortion.

The suspects were arrested in the Amuwo-Odofin area of the state while attempting to extort motorists.

 

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