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ABAKALIKI – The wife Ebonyi State Governor, Mrs Josephine Elechi, said Wednesday that the state had designed programmes to empower youths in the state.

Elechi said during a party organised for children in Abakaliki that the empowerment programme would be driven the `You-win’ and `SURE-P’ projects.

She advised youths to key into the various programmes designed by the Federal Government and complemented by the state, to cushion their economic hardship and improve their welfare.

“Both the You-win and SURE-P programmes are designed to generate employment and create wealth among the youths and women.

“I advise the youths and women this state to grab the opportunity provided by these programmes to improve their economy.”

Earlier, in a remark, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Maryjoy Umoke, also urged the children to embrace peace, unity and love at home, in school and in the society.

She lauded government initiatives aimed at improving the welfare youths and women in the state. (NAN) ————————————————————————————————- Bayelsa Assembly speaker vows not to pay ransom for abducted mother-In-law (news and feature homepage)

YENAGOA –  The Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr  Kombowei Benson, said Wednesday in Yenagoa that he would not  pay ransom to free 90-year-old mother-in-law kidnapped on 30

Benson said during the assembly’s plenary session that the kidnappers had yet to contact the family.

He said the family would not consider the option of paying ransom and urged the kidnappers to free the old unconditionally.

Madam Ogboro Dark, fondly called Obololo, was reportedly abducted by the gunmen suspected to be kidnappers operating along the waterways of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

She was abducted in her hometown, Korokorosei Community at about 2 00 a.m, on 30.

Armed men entered the community the waterside in three speed boats. (NAN) ———————————————————————————————— BPE investors to establish transformer manufacturing plants in Nigeria (biz and feature on homepage)

ABUJA – Mr Benjamin Ezra Dikki, the Director-General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has advised investors to take advantage of the absence of electricity transformer manufacturers in Nigeria to establish their own.

Th advice was contained in a made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday by the bureau’s Head, Public Communications, Mr Chigbo Aniechebe.

It said that Dikki gave the advice when he received delegates Shanghai Electric Transmission and Distribution Engineering Company Ltd. (SPTDE)   China.

Dikki expressed concern that there was no company in Nigeria producing electricity transformers and allied products.

He said that the reforms in the sector had opened up vast market in the electricity sector and that the bureau was willing to assist genuine investors to take advantage of these opportunities.

“The liberalisation of the sector and others have given confidence to investors in the Nigerian economy.

“If Shanghai should decide to establish an electricity transformer company in Nigeria, the Bureau will assist the company to link up with the relevant government institutions that will grant approvals and licences,” he said.

On power generation, Dikki said that the estimated power requirement was 40,000 megawatts while  the nation had installed capacity of 11,000 megawatts.

Mr Victor King, the Vice General of Shanghai Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Engineering Company, said that Nigeria had huge market with its status as the biggest economy in Africa.

He said the company intended to take advantage of the huge market to establish its presence in the country and  was in talks with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to establish areas of collaboration.

King said that the company was a specialised professional engineering company in the Shanghai Engineering Company’s power transmission and distribution group.

He highlighted its core business to include power generation, power transmission and distribution, heavy industrial machinery, transportation and environment protection,  among others. (NAN) ————————————————————————————————-National Economic Development Bank bill passes reading in House of Reps (news and feature on homepage)

ABUJA – A bill seeking to establish the National Economic Development Bank on Wednesday passed reading in the House of Representatives.

The bill, if passed, will repeal the National Economic Reconstruction Fund Act of 2004.

It seeks to provide a better mechanism for the bank’s resources in facilitating national economic development the provision of medium and long-term loans to small and medium scale enterprises.