Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki

The Ebonyi State Government, on Tuesday, closed down the popular Abakaliki Rice Mill located along the popular Ogoja Road over alleged discovery of poisonous and adulterated rice in the mill.

The closure was announced by the Senior Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Internal Security, Dr. Kenneth Ugbala, at the State Executive Council Chambers, Government House while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the exco meeting.

He said the government’s action followed intelligence report from the Ministry of Environment which indicated that adulterated and poisonous rice were being sold to the unsuspecting members of the public.

He said that the government was forced to close down the market temporarily following the preliminary evidence which indicated that it could be true.

He said that the market will be reopened after investigations to discover and clear the market of the dangerous food item.

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Meanwhile, the state government said that it has terminated the procedure for the disbursement of the SME loans which was being handled by Bank of Industry.

Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Ugo Nnachi, at the briefing said the state government would now handle the procedure to ensure speedy disbursement to benefiting SMEs in the state.

She said the state government decided to take over the disbursement due to the delays and inability of the BOI to carry out the disbursement since the funds were raised and lodged with the bank by the state government.

Also, the Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Emeka Akpu-Enika, said the Council approved N52 million for 2018 sporting year in the state. According to him, three sports competitions have been earmarked to take place before the end of the year in the state.

These include the David Umahi Tertiary Institutions Games (DUMTIGA 2018) for ten tertiary institutions in the state. He revealed that N500,000 have been disbursed to each of the participating institutions to enable them prepare and take part in the games.

Other sports competitions include the School Sports Competitions which will hold in October and the Divine Mandate Football Competition for all the 171 wards in the state.

He noted that efforts are in top gear by the state government to set up a new football club for the state.