Traditional Rulers and institutions in the South South region have been described as integral stakeholders in the quest by the federal and state governments to implement sustainable development programmes for the peoples of the Niger Delta. This call was contained in a statement issued by the Ashcraft Centre for Democracy and Legislative Development, a civil society Non Governmental Organisation, to announce a planned retreat for traditional leaders of the South South scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt, Rivers State from 24th to 27th August, 2009. According to the statement, signed by the Secretary, Planning Committee, Dr Chiakor, Alfred Orkuma, the retreat is a signature event planned with the view to building the capacities of traditional royalties to enable them respond to operating challenges in a democratic dispensation especially in the areas of advocacy, mobilization, community development, conflict mediation and resolution. Dr. Chiakor said that, “The imperative of the retreat is predicated on the premise that as Nigeria seeks to build and strengthen its democracy, there is the compelling urgency to recognize the contributions and centrality of traditional institutions in the configuration of its democratic equation”. Speaking further the Ashcraft Scribe stated that, “The government, both at the Federal, state and local levels are conscious of the necessity of mainstreaming traditional institutions in its evolving democracy and at the same time consolidating mechanisms for grassroots development, advocacy and conflict mediation and resolution and has taken major steps in involving traditional institutions in the democratic governance project” adding that “This is manifested in the empowerment initiatives for the traditional institutions like procurement of automobiles and other welfare packages. It is therefore not enough that these welfarist initiatives are provided without definitive roles designed for the institutions. This informs the thrust of this retreat,” the statement said. Highlighting the importance of traditional rulers in nation building, the statement opined that, “traditional institutions can valuably orientate their different communities towards their respective values, cultures and histories, as basis on which politics can be construed.” Explaining the motivation for the retreat, the statement reported that the event will help to align and harmonize traditional governance institutions with the mechanisms of the modern state amongst other imperatives. “This retreat is imperative because it has a direct practical relevance in seeking to help shape the future of our collective identity, strengthen the ideals of our traditional institutions to our collective psyche and as well invest in it as a strategy for positive confidence building without forgetting our collective history and heritage” The idea behind all this, the statement continued, “is to keep the flame of our rich cultural heritage alive without losing the authority to interprete the meaning of concepts that are essential constituents of our unique traditions”. Speaking further, Dr. Chiakor also noted that, “This is principally borne out by a growing recognition that capable democratic states must be grounded on indigenous social values and contexts, while adapting to changing realities” According to him, the retreat also hopes to seize the opportunity to confront head on two grave problems: the considerable loss of confidence among citizens in the effectiveness and providence of our traditional institutions, and the profound insecurity of our people in a world that is changing more swiftly and fundamentally than ever before. The retreat, which is scheduled to take place at the Atlantic Hall, Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt Metropolis from the 24th to 27th August, 2009, is being put together by the Ashcraft Centre for Democracy and Legislative Development, a non- partisan, non profit making CSO which operates a neutral forum for open discussion and informed dialogue and whose core objective is to build capacities for good governance, human resources engineering and policy stimulation.
MOSOP Seeks Stakeholders’ Support On Ogoni Clean-Up
The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has called on communities in Ogoni to support laid down procedure for the clean-up of the area.
President of MOSOP, Legborsi Pyagbara, made the call during a one-day sensitization on the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for Ogoni stakeholders in Tai Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The programme, supported by Catholic Organisation far Relief and Development (CORDAID) has as its theme, “Strengthening Community Awareness on the UNEP Report and Ogoni Cleanup Process”, with participants selected from Khana, Gokana, Tai and Eleme, the four Local Government Areas in Ogoni.
Top on the programme was the need to understand the activities of Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP) in the clean-up of polluted sites in Ogoni land and how the Federal Government sub-organ, Creation of the Central Representative Advisory Committee (CRAC) can mediate between the communities and the agency during the process.
Pyagbara, who spoke on the topic “Appraising the Governance Model of the Hydrocarbon Pollution and Remediation Project (HYPREP)”, said based on series of protests by Ogoni people over the degradation of the environment caused by oil spill, HYPREP was set up by the Federal Government to among other things develop concepts for sustainable development of the area so that the community can benefit maximally from the clean-up and start to see “peace dividend”.
He added that the essence of the programme was “to let people know the role of HPYREP, CRAC, which is an organ of HYPREP, that mediate between the communities and HYPREP, the communities and the Board of Trustee in the clean-up exercise.”
He noted that participants at the programme are expected return to their communities to sensitize their people on the activities bothering on the clean-up project.
Also speaking, Ogoni activist and one of the programme facilitators, Young Kigbara, explained that the sub-organ of HYPREP was set up as a mechanism for ensuring that all segments of the society in Ogoni land are always kept informed of the clean-up and environment restoration project.
He noted that “CRAC keeps the communities informed of the progress of the project, addresses grievances from the communities and communicate opportunities created by the project.
Kigbara, informed that the “programme is to dish out more information to the various stakeholders in Ogoni on the clean-up process, saying at the moment there were lots of misleading information which incites people into taking unnecessary actions.
Gunmen Kill PDP, APC Ward Leaders In Rivers
It was a black weekend in Rivers State as two leaders of the two main political parties were murdered by unidentified gunmen in Alakahia and Rumuekini Communities both in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State.
One of the victims, Mr. Nwozuruaka Anele, a ward Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Alakahia Community was shot and killed in front of his family at his residence, last Saturday.
On the same day, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rumuekini Community, identified as Anebo Amadi, was killed in similar circumstance.
The Tide gathered that the gunmen allegedly ambushed the APC leader at his family house and shot him dead .
Wife of the deceased PDP chieftain, Mrs. Orlumati Nwozuruaka, said the assailants were many and that her husband was killed despite several pleas by her children, adding that she was forced to lie down facing the floor to avoid identification, before he was assassinated at about 2:00am.
The deceased widow said, “We were sleeping when we heard noise at our main door. I woke up. I did not know that my husband had also noticed it and woke up and ran to the bathroom.
“Immediately, his killers, who were many, forced their way in and asked my husband for his Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card and he told them that it was inside the car outside. He requested that they follow him to the car, but they declined.
“They dragged him to the parlour, my children and I were pleading. My little daughter said, ‘brother, please leave my daddy alone, but they shot him dead. All I could hear from my husband is, mummy, I am gone,” she narrated tearfully.
Elder brother of the slain PDP chieftain, Jeffrey Omejuriowhor-Amadi, said his brother was killed because of his position on justice and fairness, and called on government and security agencies to fish out those who killed his younger brother.
“He doesn’t like being in a place where things are going wrong, he must speak out. He is not a cultist. He is not a rapist and he is not an armed robber. That is what surprised everybody when we heard of his death.
“The Police also came here and they saw his corpse and they also saw the scene of the incident. I am calling on the Nigerian Police and all the security agencies to see what they can do to stop these rapid killing of youths in Rivers State,” Omejuriowhor-Amadi stated.
When contacted, spokesman of the Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed the two incidents but said the reason for the killings could not be immediately determined. He, however, investigations have begun.
Fibroid: Lulu-Briggs Foundation Partners Teaching Hospitals To Treat 100 Women
Repreive would now come the way of about one hundred indigent women suffering severe uterine fibroid hyperplasia as they would receive free surgical operations, including post treatment care, put together by the O.B. Lulu-Briggs Foundation in partnership with Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospitals.
Disclosing this the Coordinator of the programme for the foundation,Mrs Ineba Tongkam during a press conference, Friday, stated that it would be part of celebrations of the 18th Anniversary of the Foundation, and Raising Awareness about Uterine Fibroid.
“The initiative for raising awareness about uterine fibroids and providing 100 free surgeries came as a result of the experience we encountered during the foundation’s recent Free Medical Mission in BaKana, Degema Local Government Area from May 20-24, she said.
She revealed that a total of 3,676 persons were treated by the foundation at Bakana, where 22 women more were diagnosed of having fibroid, but could not be treated due to after-care requirements that were too sensitive to handle at that time.
Mrs. Tongkam stated that the O.B.Lulu-Briggs Foundation was established in September 2001 by Dr.Mrs Seinye O.B.Lulu-Briggs to institutionalise and structure her husband,the High Chief O.B. Lulu-Briggs’ cheerful philanthropy which has reached out to the needy in the society.
She continued that since 2005 the foundation has provided quality health care services to 128, 833 vulnerable persons in 32 free medical outreaches in Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
According to her, “Subsequently, other programmes evolved namely: the access to clean water and sanitation, Education/Scholarships, Micro Credit and Entrepreneurship Programmes”.
The Programme Coordinator further hinted that the foundation also engages in promotion of preventive health through awareness raising campaigns, adding that the foundation in celebrating 18 years of impact in community service is drawing awareness to .uterine fibroid.
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