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DSS ARRESTS SYNDICATE SELLING NEW NAIRA NOTES, FINGERS BANK OFFICIALS

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The Department of State Services, DSS, has arrested some members of an organised syndicate selling the new naira notes in parts of the country.

Although the DSS did not disclose the names and locations of the suspects, the agency said in a statement yesterday that some commercial bank officials were aiding and abetting the act.

This comes against the backdrop of the unleashing of the anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, on the banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over alleged hoarding and diversion of new notes.

A statement signed by the Public Relations Officer of the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, warned that the secret police will go after those involved in the malfeasance.

The statement read: “The Department of State Services, DSS, hereby informs the public that it has intercepted some members of organised syndicates involved in the sale of the new re-designed naira notes.

“In the course of its operations, in this regard in parts of the country, it was also established that some commercial bank officials are aiding the economic malfeasance.

“Consequently, the Service warns the currency racketeers to desist from this ignoble act. Appropriate regulatory authorities are, in this same vein, urged to step up monitoring and supervisory activities to expeditiously address emerging trends.

“It should be noted that the Service has ordered its commands and formations to further ensure that all persons and groups engaged in the illegal sale of the notes are identified.

‘’Therefore, anyone with useful information relating to this is encouraged to pass the same to the relevant authorities”.

Customers’ frustration over new Naira notes continues

Meanwhile, despite the extension of the deadline for circulation of the cessation of old naira notes as legal tender affecting N1000, N500 and N200 denominations to February 10, bank customers have continued to face frustrations in accessing the new notes, as most of the Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, in the capital city were largely empty.

The few ATMs that had the new naira notes had very long queues, with customers standing in the scorching sun for hours to take their turns at the machines.

Even after queuing for many hours, some left empty-handed as the cash was exhausted before they could get to their turn at the ATMs.

A customer who did not want his name in print, said he had queued at two ATMs, belonging to different banks but could not withdraw any money because the notes were exhausted before it was his turn in each case.

He said even his attempt to withdraw old notes at the counter did not yield positive results, as he was told that banks were instructed not to pay old notes with the affected denominations.

Vanguard investigations showed that banks that had bank notes could only dispense the N50 and N100 denominations and pegged Over-The-Counter, OTC, withdrawals at only N10,000 per customer, payable in old notes.

A bank official told one of our correspondents that they were under strict directives of the CBN not to pay any customer more than N10, 000, adding that they could not do otherwise.

PoS operators charge 10%

In a related development, Point of Sales, PoS, operators were, yesterday, in brisk business, as they charged 10 per cent for every withdrawal.

For instance, anyone who withdrew N10,000 new notes was charged N1, 000; while old notes attracted between N200 and N500.

Most PoS operators who spoke to our correspondents, said they did not have new notes to dispense to customers.

However, the CBN has continued its naira redesign sensitization across the country as its officials took the awareness campaign to Jimeta Ultra-Modern Market, Yola, Adamawa State, last week.

Officials of CBN met market leaders and conducted on-the-spot assessment of the cash swap exercise in various parts of the state.

CBN Director, Internal Audit, Mrs. Alfa Lydia Ifeanyichukwu, who led the Adamawa State team, urged Nigerians to report any commercial bank that failed to dispense the naira notes at its business outlets for sanctioning.

Ifeanyichukwu stressed that the Naira Redesign policy came at a time the Nigerian economy was facing many challenges.

She added that some of the constraints were holding down the growth prospects of the nation and, therefore, urged well-meaning Nigerians to support the successful implementation of the policy.

She stated: “We advise members of the public to ensure that they deposit cash holdings in these denominations at their commercial banks.

“There is no limit to how much a customer can deposit between now and February 10, 2023, as the CBN has suspended bank charges and we encourage the public to explore other payment channels such as eNaira, POS, electronic transfer, USSD, internet banking, mobile operators and agents for their economic activities.”

In his remarks, state Branch Controller of the CBN, Mr. Sanusi Nyashi, announced that any commercial bank found not dispensing new notes would be sanctioned, noting that the CBN had directed all commercial banks to re-introduce Saturday banking to meet up with the high demand by Nigerians.

Nyashi said the apex bank will be keenly monitoring full implementation of the policy.

Also speaking at the sensitisation lecture held at the famous Jimeta Ultra Modern Market, Chairman of the traders Union of the Market, Alhaji Musa Yaro (Sarkin Kasuwa) advised that the CBN needed to do more in ensuring the availability of the new notes in the banks.

The chairman said that many of their members (traders) had been coming to them as leaders complaining that the banks were not dispensing the new Naira notes and that something urgent needed to be done in that regard.

Yaro advised the Apex bank to do more sensitisation work that can reach the larger population in the rural areas where there were no commercial banks.

Money outside banks declines

In a related development, the data contained in the CBN’s Money and Credit statistics has shown that currency-in-circulation (CIC) fell MoM by five per cent to N3 trillion in December 2022 from N3.16 trillion in November, resulting in a decline of four per cent in currency outside the bank to N2.5 trillion in December 2022 from N2.6 trillion in November.

However, currency-in-circulation fell month-on-month (m/m) by 3.9 per cent from N3.29 trillion in October while currency outside banks declined by 6.7 per cent to N2.64 trillion in November from N2.83 trillion in October 2022.

Reducing currency outside the banks was among the reasons the Central Bank of Nigeria gave for redesigning the N200, N500 and N1,000.

The apex bank gave today as the deadline for bank customers to deposit old notes of the redesigned denomination.

However, with many pleas from Nigerians and the Senate, the CBN extended the deadline for an old cash deposits to February 10, 2023.

The governor of CBN in the circular announcing the extension noted that the exercise had achieved a success rate of over 75 per cent of N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system.

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EEDC NOTIFIES CUSTOMERS OF PLANNED PREPAID METER UPGRADE

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Below is an official statement to that effect:

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has notified its customers that by 24th November 2024, all prepaid meters in its network will cease to accept credit tokens, unless they are upgraded.

This is as a result of a software upgrade which will be affecting all Standard Transfer Specification (STS) compliant prepaid meters across the globe.

The upgrade will be implemented through a special ‘reset token’ known as “Key Change Token” (KCT), which will be loaded on their meters, to have them upgraded.

Customers of EEDC that are using prepaid meters are therefore advised to ensure that their meters are upgraded before the set date of 24th November 2024, to avoid losing them.

The management of EEDC appeals to its customers to remain calm and not panic, as they will be notified of the process and modalities for the upgrade.

For enquiries and further clarification, customers are to call: 084 700 100, SMS/Whatsapp: 0815 082 6060 or 0815 082 6061, or send email to: customerservice@enugudisco.com

EMEKA EZEH
HEAD, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, EEDC
24/07/2023

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[TACKLING HARD TIMES] HERE ARE VEGETABLES YOU CAN GROW IN POTS ON YOUR BALCONY

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Today, many Nigerians are particularly challenged as to how to make ends meet. It is therefore important to think of simple and creative ways to boost your standard of living without spending more. As vegetables are what we need all the time, sourcing them can be quite expensive and time-consuming too.

But you can create your own little garden within the building and have fun too in having handy those fresh veggies you desire. This is all too easy if you have water as we already have enough sunlight here to provide the ideal weather needed for the plants to grow and do well.

hot peppers growing in a container

Indeed, there are many people that would love to start a vegetable garden but simply don’t have the outdoor space to do it. These days, many people live in apartments and high rises and simply don’t have any outdoor space to work with for gardening. Luckily, gardeners are no longer relegated to building raised beds or starting in-ground gardens, and there are a wide variety of vegetables that are well-suited to container gardening. 

Growing vegetables in containers gives you the option of creating a vegetable garden on your balcony or patio, or even indoors near a sunny window.

Just about every vegetable that you could ever want to grow outdoors in a garden can also be grown in a container garden on your balcony, and your vegetables will thrive in containers as well, as long as you provide the proper growing conditions and care, and select a container that is large enough to house the plant comfortably, and allows plenty of space for its roots to expand as it matures. 

In this article, we’ll tell you which vegetables are great for growing in pots in a balcony or patio garden setup, go over each vegetables basic growing preferences, highlight the best varieties of each vegetable for container gardening, and finally, we’ll give a few tips and pointers about starting your own balcony vegetable garden.

red tomatoes

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are some of the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. As long as you have a location that receives at least five to six hours of sunlight per day, you can grow tomatoes in your balcony container garden with ease. If you have limited space, try growing a dwarf variety, or cherry tomatoes instead of one of the larger tomato varieties. Tomato varieties that are well suited to container gardening include Patio Princess, BushSteak, Sweetheart of the Patio, Tumbler, and Glacier. 

For more on how to grow tomatoes in containers, click here.


BEANS

Pole beans and bush beans are both well-suited to container gardens. All you need is a spot that gets lots of sunlight, a pot that is at least one foot deep, and a trellis-like structure for the vines to grow on (for climbing varieties), and you can expect to see a good crop of beans that are ready to harvest within just a few short weeks. Good bush bean varieties to grow in containers include Bush Blue Lake, or Contender. For pole beans that are well-suited to containers, try Cherokee Trail of Tears. For green bean varieties that grow well in pots, try out Mascotte Green Beans.  

For more information on how to grow green beans in containers, click here. For more on how to grow other types of beans, click here.


PEPPERS

Aside from tomatoes and radishes, peppers are the easiest vegetable to grow in containers, and they are voracious producers as well. You will need to provide a large, deep pot, preferably at least one foot deep for ideal growth. Keep your peppers in full sun and start providing fertilizer when the plant flowers until it is done producing fruit. The best pepper plants for containers are Jalapeno, Yellow Spice Jalapeno, Early Jalapeno, Shishito, Poblano, Bolivian Rainbow, Numex Twilight, Fushimi, and Devil’s Tongue peppers

To learn more about growing hot or sweet pepper plants in containers, click here.

CARROTS

Carrots are easy to grow in containers as long as you select the right varieties. You want to pick carrots that are short instead of the standard carrot types, as the standard carrot varieties need more room for their roots to grow. Also, make sure to select a container that is deep enough to support their long taproots. Avoid overwatering and keep foliage dry to avoid issues with mildew. The best carrot varieties for pots are Romeo, Tonda di Parigi, and Little Finger. 

For more on how to grow carrots in containers, click here


PEAS

Pretty much all varieties of peas are good for container gardening, but dwarf varieties and bush varieties are preferred, especially if you are limited on space for your vegetable garden. Peas enjoy moist soil and cool weather and containers that are six to 12 inches deep depending on the cultivar. If your container is at least one foot in diameter, you can fit four to six pea plants in it comfortably. The best peas for container gardening are Peas-in-a-Pot, Tom Thumb, Snowbird, and Little SnapPea Crunch

To learn more about growing peas, click here


EGGPLANT/GARDEN EGG

Eggplants are fairly large vegetables, but as long as you provide at least a five-gallon pot that is wide enough to provide plenty of room for each eggplant you grow, they will perform very well in pots on your balcony. Eggplants require six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day and regular fertilization. Eggplant plants require support when they start producing fruit, so make sure to remember to provide stakes or cages to help support the weight of the heavy eggplant fruits. The best varieties of eggplant for container gardening are Fairy Tale, Bambino, Crescent Moon, Hansel, and Gretel. 

To learn more about growing eggplants, click here.


TIPS FOR GROWING VEGETABLES IN POTS ON YOUR BALCONY


  • Do not use soil from the ground when growing in containers, as it is typically heavy and may cause drainage issues, and it may contain pests or soil-borne diseases that could hurt your crops. Instead, use potting soil, preferably potting soil that is specifically formulated for vegetables. A top of the line, organic potting soil is ideal, and feel free to mix in some well-rotted compost, or worm castings to increase the organic matter and improve water retention and drainage. 
  • Make sure that your balcony gets plenty of sunlight, as the majority of vegetables and herbs enjoy at least eight hours of sunlight per day. If your balcony or patio area doesn’t get that much sun, you will need to adjust what you are growing in that area. A handful of root vegetables, like carrots and radishes, as well as leafy greens like lettuce, chard, and kale, only need four to six hours of sunlight to thrive. Look for a spot on the porch, deck, or driveway area that does get eight hours of sun for your other vegetables and herbs that thrive in full sun conditions. 
  • Make sure that you have a water source nearby, as vegetables are very thirsty plants and they will need a lot of water during the growing season to develop plenty of fruit for harvests. Having a water source nearby will keep you from having to lug watering cans full of water for long distances to keep your plants hydrated. 
  • Take a look above the location where you are planning on keeping your containers for your vegetable garden and try to avoid placing them under the awning of your balcony or right up against the house. Making sure your plants have access to rainfall can cut a lot of work out of caring for your plants, as you won’t need to manually water them after a heavy rain, as long as they are in a position where they are receiving that rainfall whenever it comes along. 
  • Pick containers that are large enough to support the root systems of the plants that you are wanting to grow and large enough so that the plants have plenty of room to grow to full size without needing to be repotted. Make sure that the containers that you choose have ample drainage. Here is a quick guide to selecting the right size pots for the vegetables and herbs that you want to grow:

One to two gallon containers (for small plants) – Leafy greens like lettuce, kale, chard, collards, and spinach. Other plants that work for one to two gallon containers include grape and cherry tomatoes, kohlrabi, and individual herb plants.

Five to eight gallon containers (for medium plants) – Most brassicas fit into this size container, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts, as well as medium-sized tomato plants, okra, and bush-style cucumber plants. 

Eight to ten gallon containers (for large plants) – Most large vegetables will fit into these size containers, including peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, tomatillos, large tomatoes, and bush type winter squash varieties. 

Ten to fifteen gallon containers (for extra large plants) – These extra large containers will suffice for individual plants of extra large tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, and artichokes. 

  • Good companion plants for pairing up veggies in extra large containers or for growing near to each other in separate containers:
    • Plant beans with carrots and squash, or pair beans with eggplants. 
    • Plant tomatoes with basil, garlic, and onions. 
    • Pair lettuce with herb plants like basil, rosemary, and thyme. 
    • Plant spinach with chard and onions.
  • Avoid planting these plants near one another, even in separate containers:
    • Keep bean plants away from onion and garlic.
    • Keep carrots away from dill or fennel.
    • Don’t plant tomatoes near squash or potatoes.
    • Don’t plant onions near beans or peas.

Starting your own vegetable garden on your balcony or patio space is fun and easy. Growing vegetables in containers can be nearly as prolific as growing them directly in the ground, and container gardening can drastically reduce issues with pests and soil-borne diseases. If you have a balcony or patio with ample space and plenty of sunlight, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start your own container garden today. 

Source: Gardening Channel

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EEDC TAKES MOBILE MAP METERING TO OWERRI, IMO STATE

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The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC (EEDC) has commenced mobile MAP metering in Owerri, Imo State, as part the organization’s conscious effort to have more of its customers access prepaid meters within 48 hours.

This metering program allows customers to pay and get metered and reimbursed with the value of the cost of meter through energy over a period.

The Head, Corporate Communications, EEDC. Mr. Emeka Ezeh, who made this known through a press statement, affirmed that the company adopted this as a strategic approach to close the existing metering gap in its network.

Mobile MAP Metering kicked off in Enugu in June 2022, and has been executed in several locations within the metropolis. It has traversed Ogidi and Onitsha, in Anambra State, with about 6000 customers already metered through this program.

To subscribe, EEDC customers residing in Owerri are expected to visit either the Owerri or New Owerri District office with a valid form of identification (either Drivers License, Voters Card, NIN or International Passport) and a copy of their bills. Officials of the company will assist with the MAP application process, and installation will be made once payment is confirmed.

The Single-phase meter goes for N63,061.27 while the Three-phase meter is N117,910.69. The prices are all inclusive of VAT.

Customers are therefore encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and get metered, bearing in mind that they will be reimbursed with the value of the cost of the meter through energy, over a period. It is also the only way they can manage their consumption and pay for what they consume.

This exercise is carried out by EEDC in conjunction with its MAPs (Meter Asset Providers) – MOJEC International Limited and Advanced Energy Management Services (AEMS).

MAP is a metering intervention designed and approved by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to close the existing metering gap in the sector.

EMEKA EZEH
HEAD, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS, EEDC
18/05/2023

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