The Chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Emenice, Chukwumela Nnam Obi, the Oba of Ogbaland has said that the sustainability of the federal government amnesty programme on the Niger Delta militants would largely depend on the implementation of its various programmes.
Eze Nnam Obi made the assertion yesterday while speaking as chairman during the flag-off ceremony of the first Niger Delta Tourism, Cultural fair and exhibition held at Protea Hotel, Port Harcourt.
The royal father stated that time has come for the federal government to compel oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region to begin the refining of their crude oil here so that employment opportunities would be created for the teeming unemployed youths in the zone.
He regretted that inspite of the abundant natural resources God has bestowed on the region, it has continued to live in despicable condition, adding that the federal government must act fast to ensure that the oil companies refined their products here especially in this period of amnesty.
“The agitation by the Niger Deltans were as a result of their perceived grievances over neglect of the region by the federal government.
Our leaders must act fast now to compel these oil companies to start refining their products here”.
“They should insist on them to do this so that employment opportunities can be provided for these people. Our lawmakers, civil societies and every body must rise and insist that these companies do their oil refining here”, he added.
The monarch opined that where there is injustice people are bound to cry adding that such situation could lead to amnesty.
He urged the federal government to look inward on how to address the numerous problems bothering on the unity of the country.
The Ogba monarch thanked the organizers of the project for the programme, adding that it would reposition the mindset of the youths in the region and urged the youths to embrace the federal government amnesty programme in order to promote sustainable peace that would usher in accelerated development in the area.
Earlier in his address of welcome , the Project Director of the first Niger Delta Tourism, Cultural Fair and Exhibition, Chief Bimbo Afolayan said that the intention of the programme is to build on the amnesty programme of the federal government and capitalize on the new positive and enabling environment in the Niger Delta area and work with important stakeholders in the region in order to move thing to the next level.
“We all share a vision and mission and that is to make the Niger Delta a most peaceful and prosperous place in the world. Our collective vision is to make the Niger Delta area the preferred destination for tourism in Africa in the next couple of years or so’ he stated.
Also speaking, the project coordinator, Dr Kenneth Kalu said the programme is about showcasing the natural abundant resources in the region to the world for economic development.
He urged state governments in the region as well as the people of the area to join hands with the organizers of the project to ensure the success and the substances of the programme.
Ogoni Youths Give FG 14 Days To Fix East-West Road
No fewer than 400 youths under the aegis of Ogoni Youth Federation (OYF), yesterday, staged a peaceful protest at the Eleme axis of the East-West Road, giving the Federal Government 14 days ultimatum to mobilize to site and fix the road or have economic activities in the area grounded.
The protesters, who carried various placards with inscriptions to press home their demands, trekked from Akpajo Junction to Refinery Junction in Eleme LGA, chanting solidarity songs to register their discontent over the neglect of the road.
Addressing newsmen during the protest, President General of the Ogoni Youth Federation, Comrade Legborsi Yaamabana, said it was regrettable that the road, which was a major route to the economic hub of the nation, has remained in a deplorable state, only becoming a death trap that has terminated the lives of innocent Ogonis.
Yaamabana, who described the mass action of the youths as a ‘warning protest’, said if the contractors handling the road were not immediately mobilized to site, then, the youths will have no option than to shut down all economic activities in the area.
He said, “we cannot continue to watch our people being killed on daily basis by tankers because of the poor state of Eleme axis of the east west road, we are calling on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency fix the road and save our people from untimely deaths as a result of the sorry state of the road, the only bridge on the road at Aleto has collapse but nothing is being done to avert the disasters faced by our people daily”.
Yaamabana also called on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to constitute a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission to address the development needs of the Niger Delta region, noting that the use of interim management for NDDC was “diversionary, self serving and not in the interest of the development of the Niger Delta region”.
The OYF president general also called on the Federal Government to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and his compatriots who were extra-judicially murdered by the late Gen Sani Abacha military junta, and given post-humours honour as martyrs of democracy in Nigeria, while the ideals of justice they stood for should be upheld.
Also speaking, the immediate past secretary of the Ijaw Youth Council, Eastern Zone, Comrade James Tobin, who joined the protest in solidarity, decried the neglect of the East—West Road by the Federal Government, and called the immediate fixing of the road to save the teeming road users from untold pains and death.
By: Taneh Beemene
Rising Prices Push 7m Nigerians Below Poverty Line -World Bank
The World Bank has said that rising prices pushed about seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020.
This was contained in a press statement titled, ‘Critical reforms needed to reduce inflation and accelerate the recovery, says new World Bank report,’ released by the World Bank’s Senior External Affairs Officer of Nigeria, Mansir Nasir.
The press statement was released, yesterday, in line with the latest World Bank Nigeria Development Update.
It was acknowledged that the Federal Government “took measures to protect the economy against a much deeper recession” but it was recommended that certain policies should be set for a strong recovery.”
The statement read, “The NDU, titled ‘Resilience through Reforms,’ notes that in 2020, the Nigerian economy experienced a shallower contraction of -1.8 per cent than had been projected at the beginning of the pandemic (-3.2 per cent). Although the economy started to grow again, prices are increasing rapidly, severely impacting Nigerian households.
“As of April, 2021, the inflation rate was the highest in four years. Food prices accounted for over 60% of the total increase in inflation. Rising prices have pushed an estimated seven million Nigerians below the poverty line in 2020 alone.”
Quoted in the statement, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, identified some of the challenges faced by the country and recommended a way forward.
“Nigeria faces interlinked challenges in relation to inflation, limited job opportunities, and insecurity.
“While the government has made efforts to reduce the effect of these by advancing long-delayed policy reforms, it is clear that these reforms will have to be sustained and deepened for Nigeria to realise its development potential,” Chaudhuri said.
Also quoted is the World Bank Lead Economist for Nigeria and co-author of the NDU, Marco Hernandez, who also gave a recommendation.
“Given the urgency to reduce inflation amidst the pandemic, a policy consensus and expedite reform implementation on exchange-rate management, monetary policy, trade policy, fiscal policy, and social protection would help save lives, protect livelihoods, and ensure a faster and sustained recovery,” Hernandez said.
Inflation Dips To 17.93% In May, NBS Confirms
Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 17.93 per cent in May, 2021, from 18.12 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed this in its monthly Consumer Price Index report released, yesterday.
The drop in the headline inflation in May was the second consecutive month this year.
The report indicates that the consumer price index (CPI), which measures the inflation rate increased by 17.93 per cent (year-on-year) in May, 2021, which is 0.19 per cent points lower than the rate recorded in the preceding month.
According to NBS, food inflation dropped in the same month from 22.78 per cent recorded in April, 2021 to 22.28 per cent in May, 2021.
The report reads, ‘‘All items less farm produce which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural produce stood at 13.15 per cent in May, 2021, up by 0.41 per cent when compared with 12.74 per cent recorded in April, 2021.
‘‘The highest increases were recorded in prices of pharmaceutical products, garments, shoes and other footwear, hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, furniture and furnishing, carpet and other floor covering.
‘‘Others include, motor cars, Hospital services, fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipment, cleaning, repair and hire of clothing.
“Other services include personal transport equipment, gas, household textile, and non-durable household goods,” the NBS added.
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