Edo retail sector booms, as new entrants disrupt market

On the back of a favourable investment climate, Edo State is proving to be the new bride of investors in the retail business, with the growing number of businesses opening in the state.

The Edo State Government has in the last few years advanced policies to attract investors, promising favourable policies and infrastructure to make the state an investors’ haven. This resulted in the setting up of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and support for the provision of investment-friendly infrastructure.

Findings reveal that not less than 30 standard-sized retail businesses have opened for business in Benin City since the last quarter of 2021, showing uptake in the sector and providing residents with a variety of options to choose from.

Some of the new players include Reign Restaurant and Arcade; Exquisite Plaza and Restaurant; Kilimanjaro, and Valz Foods, among others.

While some operate as restaurants serving local and continental dishes, others are entering the market to provide unique services, including games and arcade and outdoor dining, among others.

Analysts say the growing retail sector is a sign of rapid urbanisation, which is benefiting from the provision of infrastructure and social amenities to facilitate city living.

A staff of one of the outlets, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said her outlet is providing jobs to school leavers and graduates in the area and servicing clients.

She added that the provision of regular electricity supply has also reduced their running costs, which puts the business in better stead to attain profitability.

The state welcomed Domino Pizza and Cold Stone outlets in 2020 and JARA stores, which has now expanded to two stores, in 2021.

An academic and finance expert, Nosakhare Ikponmwosa, said the entrance of the new outlets will formalise the retail food sector and result in more tax for the government.

According to him, “A lot is happening with the retail sector in Edo State. The new entrants are poised to provide jobs, thereby increasing economic activities. They will help in the collection of indirect taxes and also provide jobs for youths. It is indeed a welcome development.”

 

Source: Edo State Government

NAFDAC bans registration of sachet alcoholic drinks

NAFDAC has banned the registration of alcohol in sachets and glass bottles below 200ml.

This is contained in a statement signed by the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof Moji Adeyeye in Abuja.

“The registration of new alcoholic drinks in sachets and small volume PET and glass bottles above 30 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume) has been banned by NAFDAC.

“The move followed the recommendation of a high powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health and NAFDAC on one hand, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).

“This move is also as a result of the support from various Industry represented by Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria (DIBAN) in December, 2018.

“The agency will ensure that validity of renewal of already registered alcoholic products in the affected category will not exceed year 2024,” she said.

The Director-General explained that Manufacturers of low volume alcohol beverages (200ml) with satisfactory Laboratory reports, which were already submitted to NAFDAC for registration before this decision, have been directed to reformulate their products at stipulated standard.

According to her, DIBAN was also given a matching order to embark on intensive nationwide sensitisation campaign against underage consumption of alcohol by adolescents below the age of 18 years in the bid to stem the tide of alcohol abuse in the country.

She explained that the producers of alcohol in sachets and small volume agreed to reduce production by 50% with effect from Jan. 31, 2022 while ensuring the products are completely phased out in the country by Jan. 31, 2024.

“Even as we grapple with the containment of COVID-19 pandemic, NAFDAC is resolutely committed to the strict implementation of the regulations and regulatory measures towards safeguarding the Health of Nigerians.

“This move is particularly targeted to the vulnerable youths against the dangers of reckless consumption of Alcohol, ” Adeyeye said.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

BCPG, Oniru of Iruland brainstorm to avert building collapse

Oniru of Iru Land, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, has called for collaboration with the Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG) to curb rising spate of building collapse on the Lekki axis, Lagos State.

Lawal made the call in Lagos on Monday when the newly elected executives of the Lagos State Chapter of the Guild paid a courtesy visit on his palace.

The traditional ruler said collaboration with the BCPG would checkmate construction infractions on the axis.

The Oniru who listed the team of built environment professionals who managed the Oniru Family Estate, measuring about 230 hectares with over 1,000 houses, urged the Guild to work with the team.

He said his experience as a former Commissioner for Housing in Lagos came to bare in his desire for partnership with the BCPG.

He recalled his robust working relationship with Mr Kunle Awobodu, the Founder/Pioneer President of the BCPG, training artisans and carrying out other innovative schemes that yielded positive results.

The traditional ruler mentioned various initiatives and collaboration with relevant agencies of the state government toward enforcement of building regulations in the Oniru Estate as well as infrastructure development drive in the area.

Awobodu who led the BCPG delegation, listed building collapse that caused national embarrassment including the 21 storey building on Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, close to the palace which occurred, November, 2021.

“If a house is well built, there is no fear of emergency; anticipating whether there will be collapse or not, so, people will not suffer in their sleep.

“We were trained in building construction. If we are well trained, then should Nigerians be facing this perennial disaster that has damaged our image across the world?” he asked.

Awobodu called for collaboration of the Oniru and other traditional rulers on the axis to be able to avert the danger of future building collapse.

He appealed to the traditional ruler to speak with the King of Ikate Elegushi, Oba Saheed Elegushi and others to adopt measures against quacks breeding infractions.

“From this area to Lekki there are many developers and our experience with them, I will quickly share with Kabiyesi, so that Kabiyesi Elegushi and the others will now look at how they can work with us.

“The developers here, some of them were formerly traders at Alaba who are now into construction.

“In this axis, we really need to work with the Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development and professionals like BCPG to see how we can reduce the havoc these people are creating,” he said.

Awobodu cited example of how collaboration with a traditional ruler in Yaba in the past was able to curb building collapse on that axis.

Read also: APBN tasks guild on preventing building collapse

The Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of BCPG, Col. Olajide Olayinka Retired, said plans for Dangote to go into block-making to regulate issues of mixing ratio should be complemented with engagement of professional builders on sites.

Olayinka said sometime, developers did not use the survey plans approved for the actual construction, hence, the need for supervision by professionals.

He said that project boards must give accurate information on professionals working on the projects with their contacts listed in line with global standards to check infractions.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Murder: NCWS demands justice for Hanifa, others

The National Council of Women Societies (NCWS) has called for justice for Hanifa Abubakar, a five-year-old pupil, murdered by the proprietor of Noble Primary School, Kano.

The National President of NCWS, Mrs Laraba Shoda, made the called in a statement on Monday in Abuja.

Shoda described the incident as tragic and demanded that the accused be brought to book for terminating the life of an innocent child placed in his care for academic development.

According to her, it is unfortunate that Nigerians are, once again, made to experience the painful loss of another child in an environment where they ought to receive protection.

”The kidnap and eventual murder of Hanifa by her teacher after collecting ransom of six million naira from her parent, is one of the most inhuman acts of wickedness.

”The killing of this innocent Nigerian child by the proprietor of her school is a gross betrayal of trust which the little girl and her parent reposed in the institution,” she said.

The National President of NCWS expressed worries on the increasing cases of killings for ritual purposes that have assumed a frightening dimension in Nigeria.

She said that the case of Aisha Umar, an IDP, who was lured and raped by a humanitarian provider which led to her committing suicide in Borno, was also a sorry case.

”As mothers and women, we are in pains that this is no longer the Nigeria we grew up to know.

“A Nigeria where the care for the younger generation was the responsibility of all adults and the community as a whole.

“The death of Hanifa is one too many, as children are the most vulnerable in the society and depended on adults’ protections for their development.

“A situation where care givers, that should protect and care for children, become predators is certainly unsustainable and need urgent actions,” she said.

Shoda on behalf of the council appealed to the Federal Government to put more effort to address the increasing insecurity in schools and in the country at large.

She also called on the government to embark on a nation-wide assessment of schools to ensure that they remained conducive and safe for learning.

“We must secure justice for Hanifa and others.

“We need to lay an indicator that no family will be made to question the decision of enrolling their ward in a school that is not safe,” she said.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Int’l Education Day: Obaseki urges more resilient, equitable systems to tackle learning poverty

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for increased collaboration among global stakeholders to build a more effective, equitable and resilient education system so as to tackle learning poverty and improve access to inclusive and quality education.

Obaseki gave the charge in commemoration of the fourth International Day of Education, marked by the United Nations and its sister agencies, with the theme ‘Changing Course, Transforming Education’.

The governor assured that his government will continue to deepen ongoing reforms in the state’s education sector, ensuring to provide the right infrastructure, technology and manpower for improved access to quality education across the state.

According to him, “Today, as we mark the fourth International Day of Education, it is imperative to reiterate the need for a more resilient and equitable education system to tackle learning poverty, improve access to quality education and reduce the global out-of-school population.

“Like other sectors, education suffered a huge gap during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of schools, universities, and other educational institutions, excluding about 268 million children from school.

“This, not only necessitates the urgent need to rethink education considering its role in achieving a safe and sustainable future, but is a call for improved collaboration among world leaders and global stakeholders to strengthen and enhance education systems for the future.”

Obaseki, who stated that the government is focusing on basic education and restoring quality into its basic educational system, noted that children in primary schools in Edo State today now learn three times more than they used to learn with the old pedagogue.

He said the World Bank acknowledged this consequential progress in addressing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy defects in Edo students, adding, “Edo today is ranked as one of the five nationals and sub-nationals in the world, leading the charge in tackling learning poverty. We have the lowest number of out-of-school children in Nigeria on account of our reforms.”

Noting that his administration has launched and recruited teachers under the EdoSTAR Teaching Fellows Programme to ensure quality teaching and learning in public schools in the state, Obaseki said Edo has put in place the necessary infrastructure and institutions to train teachers in the use of technology, which will enable them to train children and imbue in them the culture of technology from a tender age.

“We plan to deepen ongoing reforms in the state’s education sector, build the capacity of our teachers to domesticate the EdoBEST model, maintain physical infrastructure across schools in the state as well as intensify rebuilding structures, processes, and equipment at our tertiary institutions, among others,” Obaseki reassured.

 

Source: Edo State Government

Dangote maintains rank as Forbes’ richest man in Africa

Alhaji Aliko Dangote has retained his position as the richest man in Africa, with a net worth of $12.1 billion, according to the 2022 edition of the Forbes’ Top 10 Africa’s Billionaires List.

This is contained in a post  on their verified Twitter account @Forbes.

According to the report, for 11th year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is the continent’s richest person, worth an estimated $13.9 billion, up from $12.1 billion in 2021.

This according to the magazine, followed a 30 per cent increase in the stock price of Dangote Cement, his most valuable asset.

A surge in housing developments in Nigeria and growth in government infrastructure spending drove higher demand in the first nine months of 2021, analysts found.

The report added that Africa’s billionaires were  richer than they had been in years, despite the global pandemic.

As a group, the continent’s 18 billionaires were worth an estimated $84.9 billion – a 15 per cent increase from twelve months ago and the most since 2014, when a larger number of billionaires–28–were worth a combined $96.5 billion.

On average, the continent’s billionaires were worth $4.7 billion now,  worth $3.4 billion in 2014 with soaring stock prices from Nigeria to Zimbabwe lifted the fortunes of these tycoons, as demand for products from cement to luxury goods ticked up.

Jumping into the the number two from the list, spot–up from number four last year–was luxury goods magnate, Johann Rupert of South Africa.

More than 60 per cent surge in the share price of his Compagnie Financiere Richemont–maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens–pushed his fortune to $11 billion, up from $7.2 billion a year ago, making him the biggest dollar gainer on the list.

South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who formerly ran diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to mining firm Anglo American a decade ago, ranked number three, worth an estimated $8.7 billion.

The biggest gainer in percentage terms–up 125 per cent was Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, worth $2.7 billion, up from $1.2 billion last year.

Shares of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which he founded, rose more than 750% in the past year, helping to drive up the size of his fortune.

Another gainer: Nigerian cement tycoon Abdulsamad Rabiu, who is $1.5 billion richer after taking yet another of his companies’ public.

In early January 2022, Rabiu listed his sugar and food firm BUA Foods on the Nigerian stock exchange.

He and his son retained a 96% stake in the company, which recently had a market capitalisation of nearly $2.8 billion. (Forbes discounts the values of stakes when the public float is less than 5 per cent).

BUA Cement, in which he and his son had a 96% stake, listed in January 2020.

According to the release, only two of the 18 billionaires are worth less than in 2021: Koos Bekker of South Africa, who dropped to $2.7 billion from $2.8 billion as the share prices of consumer Internet firms Naspers and Prosus fell more than 20per cent each.

Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania, whose fortune declined to an estimated $1.5 billion from $1.6 billion a year ago,  due to lower multiples for publicly traded competitors.

The 18 billionaires from Africa, who were not new to the ranks, also hailed from seven different countries, South Africa and Egypt each had five billionaires, followed by Nigeria with three and Morocco with two.

All of the continent’s billionaires were men; the last woman to appear in the ranks, Isabel dos Santos of Angola, fell off the Forbes list in January 2021.

Forbes noted that  they list tracked  the wealth of African billionaires who resided in Africa or had their primary business there, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire, Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen.

The billionaire London resident,  Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian citizen. Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appeared  on the list due to his telecom holdings in Africa.

Read also: Dangote alerts public to fake recruitment empowerment scheme

It added that the Net worth were calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Wednesday, Jan.19.

“To value privately held businesses, we start with estimates of revenues or profits and apply prevailing price-to-sale or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies.

“Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks-or days-of our measurement date,” Forbes said.

Forbes is owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family and it features original articles on finance, industry, investing, and marketing topics.

It also reports on related subjects such as technology, communications, science, politics, and law.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Women groups in “one million women walk for Bello” in Abuja

Different women groups, under the umbrella of Women United for Yahaya Bello on Tuesday, organised a rally to express supports for Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi’s presidential ambition.

The women from more than 600 groups across the six geo-political zones, at a solidarity walk entitled “One Million Women March for Yahaya Bello” in Abuja, said that Bello had all it eould take to be president in 2023.

President, National Association of Women Entrepreneurs, Mrs Vera Ndanusa, told journalists that the turnout of women for the rally was an evidence that Bello supported women.

“The large turnout of women for the rally shows that whenever you empower a woman, you reap the benefits many times over”, she said.

Ndanusa said that Nigerian women had made up their minds to support whoever had been supporting them.

She advised that it was not yet late for people in power to learn women empowerment from Bello, saying women empowerment should be top priority for the Nigeria government.

 

On her part, the Iyaloja-General, South-West, Chief Mrs Nike Akingboye, said that with the massive turnout, Nigerian women regardless of tribe or religion, had shown that they were really united behind their own.

Akingboye said “market women are in total support of the Governor and would mobilise massively for him if he declares for Presidency.”

Ace Nollywood actress, Binta Ayo-Mogaji, who led many other stars, said that the recent commendation of Bello by the Vice-President of Liberia, Jewel Taylor, was key indication of his supports for women.

Ayo-Mogaji urged women to come to support Bello, adding that Nigerian women must support that one governor that had shown them massive support.

Ayo-Mogaji who said that the turnout for the rally was impressive, urged the federal government to pay more attention to the needs of women.

Former National President of National Association of Women Journalists, Mrs Ifeayinwa Omowole, said that 2023 election would be determined by women.

Omowole said that the women were calling on Bello to run because they were tired of market demolition, wanted better medical facilities for women and children.

“We believe that it is Bello that will do it for us because he is a governor that has carried women along in his appointment and the election of women as vice-chairman in all the local government of the state.

“We decided to support him because he is young, vibrant and supporting the course of women,” Omowole said.

Another women leader, Sharon Akubo, described Bello’s administration as a government that had given women more inclusivity in governance.

Akubo expressed optimism that if Bello became Nigeria President, more women would be empowered and appointed as ministers, saying Nigeria would get to a time where women could even become president of the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that women from key sectors, including NGOs, Civil Society Organisations, religious, professional bodies, media, politics and entertainment took part in the rally.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Deregulation: FG introduces infrastructure fund for auto gas transition

The Federal Government says it will take into consideration infrastructure fund for the midstream and downstream sector targeted at developing gas infrastructure to actualise Auto Gas Transition.

Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja during a meeting with Oil Marketers on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)/Auto Gas Transition Programme.

The meeting was organised to discuss private sector’s engagements and structures to put in place before subsidy removal and strategies on how to deploy Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) within the shortest timeframe.

Auto Gas conversion was part of the structure and building block which government planned to put in place towards full deregulation for alternative means to avoid full weight of subsidy removal impact on citizens.

Sylva told the oil marketers that the midstream and downstream regulatory authorities already had infrastructure development fund targeted at developing the sector.

“So there will be some collaboration between you and the infrastructure fund to set things up for auto gas conversation. We will bring out the fund along with some countries Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to hook up and assess.

“The burden will not be on you now, that is why we are bringing you on board, already the funding is in place to enable this aspect of your business.

“Government is coming in, we will provide 50 per cent of the funding while the country OEMs will provide another 50 per cent for you to assess. The programme will start in March,” he said.

The Minister recalled that the agreement around Auto Gas policy a year ago was clear, that there must be a critical amount of vehicles converted and corresponding critical amount of dispensing stations in place for the system to kick-start.

“If not, we will have a situation where converted vehicles will not have a place to refuel or stations not having converted vehicles to fill.

“The conversion process has been going on and we have been talking to OEMs. To do this, we agreed that we needed to have one million vehicles converting in the first place,” he said.

According to him, the government has decided to get partnership of credible local marketers to participate with the OEMs to put their system in place in Nigeria by installing dispensing stations and convert the stations.

Mr Olumide Adeosun, Chief Executive Officer, Ardova Plc. and Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), commended the decision to use CNG cars as a remedy towards escalating cost of fuel and to soften impact of deregulation on Nigerian citizens.

Adeosun explained that so far it had set up a working group on how best to implement the conversion determining the scope of feasibility, supply and demand including infrastructure, finance and investment.

He noted that generally, part of what needed to make the investment case were some of the core infrastructural pieces around the supply infrastructure for the CNG, we are willing to come in on a co-participation models.

Mr Tunji Oyebanji, CEO, 11 Plc., also expressed regret that since CNG has already began in Benin, Edo state, it ought to have been replicated across the country.

Oyebanji, who noted that though it has not proven to be a profitable venture even with significant infrastructure put in place, however, sought for additional government support to actualise the auto gas transition.

Mr Clement Isong, CEO, MOMAN who underscored the need for consistency in government communication, added that the marketers are ready and committed towards actualisation of the project and always aligned with government policy.

Mr Igwe Christian, representative of DAPMAN and CEO, Mainland Oil and Gas, thanked the minister on the laudable project and appealed for lower interest rate in the downstream and subsidised equipment for easy construction of conversion centre.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the implementation strategy of the transition programme by Technical Assistant, Gas, of the ministry, Brenda Ataga.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

AFCON 2021: Football supporters, fans bemoan Super Eagles exit

Supporters and fans of the Super Eagles have continued to bemoan Nigeria’s exit from the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that title favourites Nigeria crashed out of the AFCON on Sunday in Garoua after a 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the round of 16.

The North Africans now advance to the competition’s quarter-finals where they will take on the Stallions of Burkina Faso on the same Stade Roumde Adjia pitch in Garoua.

A cross section of football enthusiasts who spoke to NAN in Garoua said it was a very painful exit for the three-time champions, adding that Nigeria didn’t deserve to lose the way they did.

The President General, Nigeria Football Supporters Club (NFSC), Rafiu Ladipo, said he was disappointed with the performance of the boys, adding that the Super Eagles have always failed to deliver when it mattered most.

“I am not happy. We allowed that cheap goal, very cheap goal! What is it? I have always said when you place more premium on the Super Eagles players that is when they fail you and that is what happened. How can Tunisia beat us? With this team? It is painful,” he said.

Ahmed Hennesy, an NFSC member from Lagos, blamed the goalkeeper for the loss, adding that he conceded a cheap goal and let his teammates down.

“Well, what I will say is that, since the departure of Vincent Enyeama, we’ve not had another good goalkeeper.

“That was a very cheap goal. He (Yousef Msakni) shouldn’t have scored from that much distance with a better goalie in between the sticks for Nigeria.

“We lost concentration. Even while we were a man down, it didn’t show in the game, apart from the blunder made by the goalkeeper.

“I feel pained right now, but that’s football for you. We will try our luck next time,” he said.

Taiye Adeyemi, an NFSC member from Oyo state, said even though he expected a positive result, football was is  unpredictable and we all (Nigerians) must accept the result in good fate.

“As a Nigerian, I am very sad because I didn’t expect the result to go the way it did, especially against a depleted Tunisian side.

“I was hoping that we were going to beat them silly, but unfortunately it was a silly goal that gave them (Tunisia) the victory.

“However, it’s one of those things, that is a part of football and we just have to accept it like that,” he said.

Ngozi Okoroafo, a NFSC member from Lagos, said: “I am sad because of what happened. The boys played very well, but I guess luck wasn’t just on their side.”

Enjoyemmy Okegdo, a fan from Lagos, said the players failed to convert a lot of goal scoring chances which turned out to be the team’s greatest undoing.

“Of course, I feel bad, I am not happy. Our plan was to soar higher after amassing a record nine point haul in the group stage.

“It is unfortunate that one of the best losers from the group stage was the team that knocked us out.

“I felt our boys should have taken their chances and scored earlier, but they missed a lot of those goal scoring chances in the first half.

“Secondly, this was a very crucial match and I think we really underrated this Tunisian side, but in everything we give glory to God,” he said.

Emmanuel Odikor, a fan from Lagos, said he expected more from the Super Eagles, especially after the team’s exploit at the group stage.

“It was a very bad experience and a bad day for us. We won all our group matches, but messed it up at the knockout stage.

“I don’t blame the players but the goalkeeper. It was the only Tunisian attempt at goal and he couldn’t save it.

“The players really tried their best and we don’t have to give up. The World Cup is coming and we can do better.
“So, my advice is for them to go back to the drawing board and bounce back stronger,” he said.

Usman Zubairu, a Super Eagles’ fan from Cameroon, said he was routing for Nigeria during the game but felt so sorry for the team when they lost.

He, however, said his love for the Super Eagles is still very strong, adding that they would bounce back from the setback a much better side in their upcoming games,” he said.

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

Female football teams compete at maiden Afusat Abiodun Gold Cup

Ten female football teams in Ikorodu, Lagos State, are competing for N100,000 cash prize at the maiden edition of the Afusat Olabimpe Abiodun Female Gold Cup.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the competition began on Sunday at the Police Barracks Sports Field, Ikorodu.

It will end on Feb. 13.

At the opening ceremony,  Director-General, Lagos State Sports Commission, Oluwatoyin Bolowoton, said that the tournament was part of  activities to promote the development of the girl-child.

He hoped that the competition  would promote the growth of female football.

“The tournament is meant for our girls.

“It is a good one happening here in Ikorodu; this is what we have been longing for, we will encourage more people to come to the assistance of the girl-child,” he said.

Bolowoton disclosed that the state had concluded plans for  grassroots programmes for female football players.

“The state also has its own programmes for grassroots development, we need to accommodate more female football competitions at this level.

“The state is going to come up with more elaborate competitions  that will cut across the 57 local council areas.

“At the grassroots, we can identify one to three players there and enroll them in a club.

“It is about their exposure. It is just a systematic way of developing our female football,’’ he said.

The Chairman of Ikorodu Divisional Football Association, Lukmon Shonibare, said that the competition was be a major way of distracting the attention of the girl-child from vices.

He added that the competition would  encourage more girls so develop interest in the sport.

“We discovered that  vices such as cultism, drug addiction, prostitution and many more are now rampant among the youth.

“We then decided to use this opportunity to engage them so that it will encourage girls to stay off crime,” he said.

He noted that some girls were talented but did not have a platform to showcase their talents.

“This will also bring more girls to play football,’’ he said.

Adeoye Abiodun, Vice Chairman of Ikorodu Division of the Lagos State Football Association,  expressed the optimism that the competition would expose talented female players.

“This is the first Afusat Abiodun competition in  memory of our late mother, who died 39 years ago. We will be doing this yearly.

“The major objective is to encourage female football at the grassroots,” he said.

According to him, the competition will provide a platform for girls to showcase their talents in football and be groomed.

“We want to see more Azeezat Osuales in future,” he said.

One of the players, Faith Unigwe, told NAN that  the competition would encourage the players to show more interest in football.

She called for more competitions to promote  female football.

“This is my first time of participating in such a tournament. I  am really excited and I pray that this continues.

“If you are a footballer and you are just training and not playing matches, you won’t be able to determine your strength.

“This competition will really help us. I am really glad for this opportunity,” she said.

NAN reports that the most valuable player in the tournament  would  also be awarded a cash prize and  scholarship .

 

Source: News Agency of Nigeria