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Mpape Crushed Rock: Nigerians flock to new beauty spot

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Fatima Muhammad

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An abandoned quarry in Nigeria has been become a tourist hotspot after images were posted on social media earlier this month.

The rocky cliffs climbing into a blue sky, a moss-lined footpath, small green hills and a lake that shimmers in the sun are quite breath-taking and a set of images shared on Twitter at the beginning of August has been liked more than a thousand times.

In a matter of days of the post, the site, known as Crushed Rock, in Mpape – a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital Abuja – was thronged.

There has been a DJ stand, food vendors, hundreds of sun-bathing selfie-takers – and even a band of classical musicians.

Musicians at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

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Fatima Muhammad

Nigerians are not generally known to be outdoor lovers – the weather is very hot in the north and quite humid in the south.

However, there is a burgeoning community of hikers around Abuja inspired by the many expatriates living in the political capital.

People at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

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Fatima Muhammad

The coronavirus pandemic has also had a part to play in encouraging these young middleclass Nigerians to explore the hills in the country’s rocky central region.

The lockdown, which prevented people from travelling elsewhere, has meant that places closer to home are being explored.

Tourists at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

The area around Mpape, which means “rock” in the local Gwari language, has supplied much of the stone used to transform Abuja from a small village in the 1980s into the country’s capital city.

“The quarry has existed for more than 10 years,” said Mpape resident Courage Ebenz, who is somewhat bemused by the sudden influx of city-dwellers.

The lake at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

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Fatima Muhammad

Nigeria has an abundance of natural beauties, but this “man-made” location has its own appeal – with three main tiers that each give a stunning view of the water below.

Sightseers can choose a small winding footpath to the top terrace, where the grass is an ideal picnic location.

Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

The more adventurous can continue down the path that circles and snakes down to the water’s edge.

But a warning for the brave who might want to plunge into the water as the locals say it is full of abandoned machinery.

Two children look over Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

According to Abraham Adepelumi, a geo-physicist at Obafemi Awolowo university, the lake was formed as a result of the fracturing of an aquifer.

“Once the rock got fractured, the water within the rock was under pressure,” he told the BBC.

“It is a natural phenomenon, Mpape is a fracture-prone area of Abuja and has experienced tremors as recent as 2018.”

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The local emergency agency has warned amateurs against hiking at Mpape Crushed Rock, but fun-seekers seem not to be deterred.

“I didn’t know we had such a place in Nigeria and I wanted to see if it is real,” Elizabeth Okute, who came with her friends after seeing pictures on Facebook, told the BBC.

“I am surprised such a place exists in Abuja and I love what I am seeing,” said Ann Chukwuka.

FAnn Chukwuka at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

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Ann Chukwuka wanted to see the place for herself

Emeka Uko, who kept straying to the edge much to the chagrin of his friends, added: “I hope we put measures in place to preserve it.”

This is exactly what some volunteers decided to do last Saturday, clearing up a trail of plastic waste around the quarry that has built up over the last few weeks.

Volunteer cleaners at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

They split into two groups to compete to see who could collect the most rubbish – updating social media as they went.

“A lot of people felt it was their responsibility to clean up the place,” Brandon Akume, whose group came second in the clean-up dash, told the BBC.

This was an alien concept to most Nigerians, he added.

Volunteer cleaners at Mpape Crushed Rock near Abuja, Nigeria

Image copyright
Fatima Muhammad

He moved from one group of picnickers to the other, handing out rubbish bags, instructing people to dispose of their litter.

“They want to poison this place, it seems I have my work cut out for me,” he said.

Photos by Fatima Muhammad and words by the BBC’s Nduka Orjinmo





Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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