Gov. Udom hosts IOCs over move to end gas flaring

………Plans over 5,000 new jobs with gas initiative

Gov. Udom Emmanuel with representatives of the IOC during the inspection on the intelligent Building in the state
Gov. Udom Emmanuel with representatives of the IOC during the inspection on the intelligent Building in the state

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, on Tuesday hosted multinational companies comprising Mobil Producing Nigeria, Vitol and BlackRhino in Uyo and expressed desire for more partnership to create job opportunities in the state.

This is even as he expressed optimism that the planned partnership with the IOCs to tap the gas that was hitherto flared wold come to fruition soon and create over 5,000 jobs.

Speaking at the meeting with IOCs led by the Lead Country Manager, Mobil Producing Nigeria (MPN) Mr. Paul McGrath, Gov. Emmanuel appreciated the companies for accepting to partner the State.

He assured that the enabling environment would be created in the state for he IOCs, while reiterating that his administration’s determination to create job opportunities through industrialisation which he noted was only possible when investments thrive.

The Governor explained that the state had taken steps to build the necessary gateways for investors and appealed to the Federal Government to assist in the realisation of its vision.

“We appeal to the Federal Government to give us enough support for the investors that are coming in because people that will work here are not only Akwa Ibom people.

“The day we start the Ibom Deep Seaport project at least 5000 people will be on board handling different jobs, skills will be transferred and training will be offered.

“We will develop capacity and the rest of the things will come up so the chain effect of that positive impact is what we cannot overlooked, he stated.

The Intelligent building in Akwa Ibom still under construction
The Intelligent building in Akwa Ibom still under construction

Justifying the partnership with Vitol, the Governor explained that the company would partner others ” to stop gas flaring then channel the power to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and other uses”, explaining that ” we cannot have gas then complain in this country”.

The Governor who embarked on inspection of the 21 Storey Intelligent building shortly after the meeting, said the building has been a demonstration of government’s commitment to partner with the Corporate Organisations in the provision of conducive working environment, adding that residence for staff will be added.

Earlier, the Chairman and Lead Country Manager, Mobil Producing Nigeria, Mr. Paul McGrath, thanked the Governor for the opportunity given the company to partner in the development of the state .

Mr. McGrath pledged the company’s readiness to eradicate gas flaring and produce more Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) using Vitol and BlackRhino as facilitators.

Also, the African Head, Vitol, Mr Pierre Barbe, said their major focus in their investment in Nigeria is to end gas flaring and sanitise the ecosystem, saying that the initiative will make gas available for power generation and production of LPG for domestic consumption.

On his part, the President BlackRhino, Brian Hertily, assured that when the necessary modalities are put in place for conversion of gas into energy the state will attract more industries for job creation.

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OML 25: SPDC, Belema signs dispute closure agreement

Oil drilling in Niger Delta

By Edith Ike-Eboh

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with its joint venture partners, Shell Production Development Company (SPDC) and Belema OIL, have resolved the dispute on the operation of Oil Mining Lease (OML) 25.

The group at the signing of the dispute closure agreement in Abuja, on Tuesday agreed that operations at the oil well would take off in the next 10 days.

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Slyva, at the event  thanked all the parties stressing that the step signified the beginning of a new chapter in the industry.

Slyva said that the aim of the ministry was to ensure an oil industry that worked and operated in harmony and in unity.

“When I came into the office, the issue was one of the problems that came on the table; there were so many letters from communities complaining about the problem.

“I just decided to invite Shell to hear its own part of the story but fortunately, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mele Kyari, had intervened in the matter.

“So, I have the honour now to thank him for this great intervention.

“And also thank Shell and Belema for cooperating to ensure that there is closure to this matter that has bedeviled the industry for so long,” he said.

He said that one of the aims of the Petroleum Industry was to ensure zero loss in the industry and production got to destination.

According to him, zero loss is not loses from pipelines but lost to the country, especially with assets that can produce but for some reasons bug down by leakage issues.

He said that the biggest beneficiaries of the agreement were not the companies but the communities, especially those in Belema who had been suffering since the beginning of the dispute.

The minister commended the NNPC, Shell and the Belema Oil for agreeing to resolve the dispute.

Earlier, Kyari said that the development was a big achievement for the corporation.

The NNPC boss said that the dispute around the OML 25 had been on for over two years, adding that  the end result was that communities lacked peace with the disruption of property and social lives in the area.

“For us, the most important aspect of the dispute resolution is that, at least, the communities will have their peace restored.

“At the back of it, you are aware that there is a complete stoppage of petroleum operations around the OML 25 and adjoining blocks.

“What this means is shut down of production of over 35,000 barely of oil every day in the last two years and that is enormous economic loss for all stakeholders, Nigeria and the communities.

“This is why we engaged all stakeholders and we are happy to announce today that the closure has been obtained.

“It means that the communities will have their peace back and also commence operations with the OML 25.

“That means that there is prosperity for the community and also some returns to shareholders of Belema Oil, NNPC and Nigeria at large,” he said.

Kyari commended the Belema Oil for its role and assured full engagement of the communities, adding that all the parties would be taken care of.

The NNPC boss also said that all opportunities found would be shared equitably for overall peace and development of the country.

He commended the minister of petroleum for his support and assured that the operations would soon commence in the area.

Also, the Managing Director of Shell, Osagie Okunbor said that the dispute had been for two years but “we are happy that we concluded on resolving the dispute.

“I want to convey my deep appreciation to the GMD of NNPC for the intervention to bring this issue to a closure.

“When dispute of this nature happens, every one suffers, especially the immediate family, recipient community not to talk of investors like ourselves.

“We have been in discussion with communities and Belema Oil and sometimes under the auspices of government.

“We are very pleased that we have finally brought this to a conclusion, to work on some agreements with communities to achieve speedy return to operations on that facility,” he said.

He said that to meet the plight of the host communities, Shell had paid in the Joint MOU account, over N300 million to restart community efforts it had not done because of some issues.

Okunbor said that under the joint MOU framework,  monies would be paid into communities’ accounts to execute projects to ensure that employment opportunities get to the people.

He noted that SPDC  remained the operator of the OML 25 but assured commitment to ensure that all parties would derive from the benefits.

The President and Founder, Belema OIL, Mr Jack Rich-Tein, also said the agreement signaled that stakeholders shared common interest and value of lifting the country high and strengthening relationships.

“What has been resolved is that, we have agreed to work together, SPDC and Belema Oil.

“Belema Oil is now going to be able to create a lot of employment opportunities for the communities under operations and maintenance part of the operations.

“SPDC remains the operators because they still have the licence, the communities will be happy because we will employ them and they will be able to work with SPDC.

“The key thing there is getting back to work and creating jobs for the local communities, everybody will be happy.”

He said that Belema OIL with 7.7 per cent asset would provide the operation maintenance and employ the community members through that platform.

The founder said that Belema OIL would work with shell to ensure that the development needs of the people were met.

“We have agreed that less than 10 days from today, we will visit the communities and appeal to them and then, we go to work,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that operation in OML 25 stopped since in 2017 when the host communities sent SPDC away from operating in the facility over issues of unemployment and underdevelopment among others. (NAN)

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Average price per litre of kerosene up in August – NBS

Average price per litre of kerosene up in August - NBS
Average price per litre of kerosene up in August – NBS

By Folasade Akpan

The average price per litre paid by consumers for National Household Kerosene increased to N319.94 in August 2019 from N316.03 in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The bureau, in its “National Household Kerosene Price Watch (August 2019)” obtained from its website on Tuesday in Abuja, said the increase is by 1.24 percent month-on-month and 10.80 percent year-on-year.

The report by the bureau indicates that states with the highest average price per litre of kerosene were Abia, N375.55;  Enugu, N365.47; and Ebonyi, N358.33.

It also said that states with the lowest average price per litre of kerosene were Abuja, where it sold for N245.50; Kwara, N261.11; and Benue, N261.90.

“Similarly, average price per gallon paid by consumers for kerosene increased by 0.19 percent month-on-month and by 11.92 percent year-on-year to N1, 213.53 in August 2019 from N1, 211.18 in July.

“States with the highest average price per gallon of kerosene were Gombe, N1, 400; Adamawa, N1, 360.00; and Borno, N1, 355.

“States with the lowest average price per gallon of kerosene were Bayelsa, N1, 030; Akwa Ibom, N1, 079.58; and Osun,N1, 085.22.”

The NBS said that in arriving at the statistics, field work was carried out by its staff in all states of the federation, supported by supervisors who were monitored by internal and external observers. (NAN)

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Facebook blocks Netanyahu’s chatbox for election violation

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Facebook (FB.O) on Tuesday after the social network blocked a “chatbot” from his right-wing Likud party’s account for violating election day rules.

“They took a 100 kg hammer and brought it down on a fly, because it is a Likud fly,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on social media.

“They shut down our means of communication with our voters.”

Israel’s leading YNET news website said the chatbot, a type of automated software that is able to simulate a conversation with a user, had posted results from an election poll on Tuesday while

Israelis were out voting, a contravention of election rules.

The problematic posts were apparently taken down and no longer appeared on Netanyahu’s Facebook page.

Netanyahu appeared to play down the violation, saying: “Someone published a small poll on Facebook.’’

Asked about its intervention on Netanyahu’s account, Facebook said in a statement it works with

“elections commissions around the world to help protect the integrity of elections.”

“Our policies clearly state developers are required to comply with all applicable laws in the country where their app is available.

“We have restricted this bot for violating local law until the polling stations are closed tonight,” it said.

Netanyahu, who is battling for his political career, has been trying to mobilise his base by warning them of low supporter turnout.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu battled for his political survival in the final hours of a close-run election on Tuesday, urging voters to support him to avert a “disaster”.

His voice hoarse from weeks of campaigning, the veteran leader took to the streets and social media, at one point using a megaphone in Jerusalem’s bus station, to urge voters to extend his unbroken decade in power.

Netanyahu, 69, has cast himself as indispensable and blighted by voter complacency over his tenure – the longest of any Israeli prime minister.

Prime minister from June 1996 until July 1999, he has held the post since March 2009 and is seeking a record fifth term. (dpa/NAN)

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African swine fever: South Korea culls pigs

 

China to kill over 1000 pigs over swine fever outbreak
South Korea culls pigs after confirming African swine fever

South Korea is culling thousands of pigs after confirming African swine fever at a farm near its border with North Korea, which had an outbreak in May.

Kim Hyun-soo, South Korea’s agricultural minister, said the country’s first case of the highly contagious disease was confirmed Tuesday in tests on five pigs that died Monday evening at the farm in the city of Paju.

Officials were planning to complete by Tuesday the culling of some 4,000 pigs raised at the farm and two other farms run by the same family. The government also strengthened efforts to disinfect farms and transport vehicles and ordered a 48-hour standstill on all pig farms, slaughterhouses and feed factories across the country to prevent the spread of the disease, which threatens a massive industry that involves 6,000 farms raising more than 11 million pigs.

African swine fever has decimated pig herds in China and other Asian countries before reaching the Koreas. It is harmless to people but for pigs is highly contagious and fatal. There is no known cure.

“We will invest maximum effort to prevent the disease from spreading … we believe the first week (following the outbreak) would be most dangerous,” considering incubation periods, Kim said during a news conference in Sejong City.

“We will quickly complete monitoring inspections at the 6,300 farms (nationwide) … checking each pig to see whether it has fever or not and testing on even the slightest of symptoms,” he said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for fast and stern quarantine measures to prevent the disease from wreaking havoc on the pork industry, the presidential Blue House said.

The outbreak in South Korea comes despite months of heightened monitoring efforts at border area farms after the disease spread to North Korea. In May, the North told the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, that 77 of the 99 pigs at a cooperative farm near its border with China died of the disease and the remaining 22 pigs were culled.

South Korea’s agriculture ministry said investigators were sent to the farm to trace the source of the outbreak and it wasn’t immediately clear if the disease would have crossed from North Korea. The ministry said in June that blood tests of pigs from some 340 farms near the border with the North came back negative.

North Korea has scaled back cooperation with South Korea after a summit between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump collapsed in February, and it has ignored repeated South Korean calls for joint efforts to stem the spread of the disease.

South Korea placed hundreds of fences and traps around border area farms to prevent pigs from being infected by wild boars that roam in and out of North Korea. South Korea’s military, which had monitored the movement of wild boars through heat sensors installed along the border, said it would be difficult for wild boars to cross over barbed wire fences in the mine-scattered border zone. But government officials have said the animals could possibly swim across rivers.

Kim, the South Korean agricultural minister, said the Paju farm hit by the disease was about 1.5 miles away from a river that runs across the border. But it is a sealed indoor facility with no windows and is surrounded by fences to fend off wild boars. The farm’s owner and four Nepalese workers said they hadn’t recently traveled outside of South Korea, Kim said.

“We haven’t been able to immediately confirm the infection route of the disease,” Kim said. “We are trying to identify the cause as soon as possible because that would be crucial for preventing the disease from spreading.”

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Bande in church service to usher in 74th UNGA

 

Bande joins other Muslims in church service to usher in 74th UNGA

Amb. Tijani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, was among several Muslims that attended a special church service in New York on Monday evening.

The prayer service, hosted by the Church of the Holy Family, United Nations Parish, is an annual tradition of the UN to usher in every new session of the Assembly.

Monday’s edition came shortly after the President of the 73rd UNGA, Ms Maria Espinosa, handed over to Muhammad-Bande at the UN headquarters a few meters away.

Other Muslims at the service included presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu; former Chairman of INEC, Prof, Attahiru Jega, and officials of Nigerian missions to the UN and the United States.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; the Deputy Secretary General, Ms Amina Mohammed, also a Muslim, and Espinosa, equally attended the service.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that speakers at the occasion underscored the significance of the composition of the gathering to religious tolerance and harmony.

In his address, Guterres said “our presence here sends an important message” at a time of “widespread polarisation and horrific violence targeting people solely for their (religious) identity”.

“We are recognising our human connections and reaffirming respect for each other’s religions, cultures and traditions”, he said.

Speaking later, Muhammad-Bande said the service was a reminder of the “place of faith and the role that empathy and love can in agreeing when we want to disagree”.

He urged all those present to recommit themselves to God and seek His intervention while also doing their best to address the challenges facing the world.

The Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia, Bishop Paul Hinder, spoke in similar vein in a sermon.

Hinder called on Muslims, Christians and adherents of other religions to unite and find a common cause in the fight against religious violence and extremism.

The service featured special prayers for the UN and its leaders, for lasting peace in war-torn regions and for a “globalisation of solidarity” against hunger hunger, poverty, disease, among others.(NAN)

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Tribunal verdict: Makinde says it’s triumph of truth over falsehood 

Seyi Makinde Oyo state Governor
Seyi Makinde Oyo state Governor

By David Adeoye

Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, has described his victory at the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal as the triumph of truth over falsehood.

The governor stated this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Taiwo Adisa, on Monday, in Ibadan.

Makinde was reacting to the tribunal judgment that gave him victory in a petition instituted against him by Mr Adebayo Adelabu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9 governorship election.

He said that he did not expect anything less from the Tribunal ”because truth is always constant.”

The governor expressed appreciation to the people of the state for standing by him before, during and after the election.

He called on the major opposition party in the state, the APC, to join hands with him to work for the good of the state.

He said: “We want to thank the people of Oyo state who have stood behind us before, during and after the election.

“We have remained focused on the task the people of the state committed into our hands and we are pushing on with our agenda for Oyo state.

“What I will say to the APC members is that they should let us forget politics for now; let us all work together for the good of the people of Oyo state.

” Let them key into our agenda to bring prosperity to the state; let us, together, tackle poverty and ensure that our good intentions for the people of the state are realised,” the statement read.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the tribunal, sitting in Ibadan, had, on Monday, upheld the election of Makinde as the governor of Oyo state.

Adelabu and his party APC had challenged the declaration of Makinde as the winner of the election by INEC, having polled a total of 515,621 votes as against Adelabu’s 357,982 votes.

The three-man panel of the tribunal, chaired by Justice Muhammed Sirajo, unanimously dismissed the petition, saying that Adelabu failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, improper accreditation, inaccurate ballot counting and non-compliance with Electoral Act.

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Affordable Houses: Stakeholders advocate good governance

 

Housing Esaste

By Franca Ofili

Mr Yemi Adelakun, Managing Director, Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH) Affordable Housing Ltd has advocated good governance and a robust savings scheme to enable the country to deliver a proper cooperative housing scheme.

Adelakun made the call in Abuja on Monday at a stakeholders’ quarterly workshop on cooperative housing in Nigeria with the theme, “’Aggregating Off-takers’ Savings for Affordable Housing in Nigeria’’.

He called for a special savings scheme to ensure inclusive growth and development.

“The success factors of cooperative housing are good governance, trust, transparency and accountability, capacity building, respect and strict adherence to rule of law, checks and balances with continuous monitoring and auditing.

“Others are robust savings scheme, electronic data management and information communication technology,’’ Adelakun said.

He said the objective of the workshop was ‘’to organise, empower, and acquaint cooperative leaders with Innovative Cooperative Housing Principles.

According to him, the workshop will sensitise them to aggregate members’ equity contributions through saving for effective and sustainable delivery of affordable housing to co-operators.

Adelakun said the workshop was designed to strengthen the governance capacity, transparency and accountability of housing cooperatives through information and communications technology.’’

“The core inspiration behind the workshop is for NISH and partners to use this method to ensure that they develop a very strong and effective housing cooperatives system in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He identified six most critical challenges of affordable housing as land, technology, expert knowledge and skilled manpower; building materials, infrastructure and finance.

Adelakun said the lack of off-takers’ access to credit line was the major challenge that must be tackled for the country to achieve a successful affordable housing delivery.

Mr Anders Lindquist, Chief Business Development, EchoStone, said that every country had housing deficit but that Nigeria had the highest deficit.

EchoStone is an international provider of affordable housing solutions.

Lindquist called for more workshops to educate buyers and promised to work with the stakeholders to achieve their goals.

He called on government to be more interested in ensuring that affordable houses were made available to Nigerians.

Lindquist said that good governance was vital to achieving affordable housing.

He urged the workshop to ensure that action would be taken not just talk. (NAN)

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Investment tribunal seeks jurisdiction beyond capital market transactions

 

Nigerian Stock Exchange
Nigerian Stock Exchange

By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma

To ensure speedy resolution of  financial market disputes, the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) on Monday called for expansion of its jurisdictions beyond the capital market.

The Chief Executive Officer of IST, Mr Siaka Idoko-Akoh, made the call at the opening of the tribunal’s 2019/2020 legal year in Lagos.

Idoko-Akoh said that it had become necessary to ensure that the relevance of the body was not limited to the capital market.

He said that expansion of IST jurisdictions would engender speedy resolution of disputes in the financial services sector, away from the usual delays inherent in the regular court system with its attendant consequence for economic growth.

According to him, the tribunal’s panel comprises of persons of proven ability and expertise in corporate and capital market matters and experienced in securities and investments laws, practices, operations and procedures.

“We make bold to say that over the years, the tribunal has continued through its long line of well thought out judgments and rulings, to evolve a new and unique jurisprudence in the Nigeria capital market.

“It has become necessary however, to ensure that the relevance of the IST is not limited to the capital market alone.

“Leveraging on the IST success story, the idea has been mooted in some quarters of the need to enlarge the jurisdiction of the IST to encompass adjudication of disputes arising from dealings or transactions in the financial services sector of the Nigerian economy,” he said.

Idoko-Akoh added that over 70 judgements had been delivered in keenly contested cases across the zones within the statutorily prescribed time of three months from the date of commencement of hearing.

“This is exclusive of cases either struck out, withdrawn or resolved through our court settlement process, while about 24 cases are on-going,” he stated.

Responding, the Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Capital Market Committee, Mr Anayo Edwin, said that upon the inauguration of the committee by the speaker, the committee would consider the tribunal’s request.

“Arising from the chairman’s address, let me say that upon the inauguration of this committee by the honourable speaker, we shall consider your request for the expansion of the tribunal’s jurisdiction to cover other financial sector related cases and for other purposes”, Edwin said.

He, however, urged the tribunal to achieve sustainable growth of the financial sector through a harmonious and investment friendly capital market.

Edwin noted that this could only be attainable through the glaring manifestation of its core values of fairness, integrity, efficiency, professionalism and speedy dispensation of justice.

Also speaking, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, President of the Court of Appeal, represented by Justice Tom Yakubu, said the importance of IST could not be over-emphasised.

“The importance of the IST cannot be over-emphasied, particularly in having to do with the timely dispensation of justice in the capital market.

“It is said that time is money and if people invest in the capital market and it goes through the old rules in litigation, you can imagine how people who are the operators in the capital market will not be willing to go there.

“And so, we see that the work being done by the IST is of utmost importance to the development and contribution to the Nigerian economy,” Bulkachuwa said.

She said that the Court of Appeal would partner the tribunal to ensure that cases that came to the court were timely dispensed off.

Dr David Ogogo, Registrar/Chief Executive Officer of the  Institute of Capital Market Registrars, said that IST was set up to enhance investor-confidence.

Ogogo pledged that the tribunal would remain committed to transparent and fair judgement.

“The reality on ground is that if there are no disputes, there would be no need to establish organisations like the IST and so things cannot always go smoothly.

“If there are disputes and they are to be resolved, then of course courage and patience will be required to handle things in the right way if you are to enhance investors’ confidence or impact positively on it.

“You must continue to render judgement given cognizance to be transparent, accountable, responsible and fairness.

“It is with this that I charge the IST to continue to be transparent and fair so that all judgements given are seen to be fair,’’ Ogogo said. (NAN)

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Ghanaian girl 22, says slept with 700 men from age 14

Threatens to expose 14 Ghana celebrities on list

ABENA GHANABA, Ghana slay queen who says has slept with 700 men
ABENA GHANABA, Ghana slay queen who says has slept with 700 men

A 22-year-old Ghanaian Slay Queen,  Abena Ghanabah was unperturbed when she told a Ghpage TV that she has slept with 700 men.

Ghanabah, formerly known as Charlotte Abena Serwaa Ghanabah confessed that out of the 700 men, 27 of them were Ghanaian celebrities.

According to her, she started sleeping with men at the age of 14.

She said the first person she slept with was a 56-year-old headmaster while staying at a boarding house during her secondary school days.

Ghanabah also disclosed that she decided to go public with the names of the Ghanaian celebrities she slept with because they refused to give her what they promised her.

According to Ghpage.com, she said also said she has rejected several romantic affairs with some lesbians in the Ghanaian movie industry.

She also stated that she decided to expose the celebrities she has slept with because they refused to give her whatever they promised her.

Watch Video:

The 22-year-old girl stated that she exposed these celebrities out of anger and is not perturbed about the consequences.

Abena Ghanabah also disclosed that she has been approached by several lesbians in the Kumawood movie industry which she rejected.

 

 

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