If presentations made by various state creation groups is anything to go by, Rivers State may be split into four states if the current constitutional review exercise embarked upon by the National Assembly succeeds.
One of the groups which made presentation on Tuesday, at the Zonal Public Hearing for the South-South by the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution in Port Harcourt, is the Ijaw National Congress.
The states expected to sprout from the present Rivers State include, Bori, Ahoada, Minji-Se and Oil Rivers State.
At the Riverine axis of the state, Minji-Se, Oil Rivers state, according to the stakeholders, would provide political space for the marginalised people, mostly occupying the coastal fringes, while those in the upland axis would get Bori and Ahoada states.
From the presentations made, two earlier states agitated for have changed their nomenclatures. The former Orashi state was renamed Ahoada and Ogoni renamed Bori State.
Explaining reasons why the states should be created, President of the Ijaw National Congress, Dr Atuboyedia Obianime said the states were overdue considering the huge economic resources and oppression suffered by the people over the years.
In the light of the political suppression suffered by the people over the years, the INC boss said, “We see that if we continue in this way we would remain the same for a long time.”
Especially, he remarked that long time balkanization of the people makes them difficult to speak in one voice and develop.
According to him, Oil Rivers State would have been created since 1983 if not for the military intervention. The area consisting of Oil Rivers he further explained covers 13 local government areas with a population of 2.3 million and 5,000 square kilometers in land mass, with lots of oil and mineral resources.
For Ahoada state, Stephen Ekekwem explained that the new state would cover eight ethnic groups including Ekpeye Ogba, Ndoni, Engenni, Egbma, Odual, Kugbo and Abua.
Formerly christened Orashi state, the name was dropped following the failure to push it through in 1996. However, with the current constitutional review exercise, he noted that the people of the area believes that, “it would be worthy reparation which Nigeria federation can offer to the people of the area.”
Senator Cyrus Nunye of the Bori State submitted that one unique aspect of the proposed state is that it has large quantum of gas and oil mineral resources.
The new state he explained would comprise all the Ogoni local government areas including Opobo/Nkoro, Andoni and Oyigbo area.
Senator Nunyee remarked that the name ‘Ogoni’ was dropped to give room for the diverse ethnic groups expected to fall within its area.
Similarly, Dr Numbere of the Minji-Se State creation movement has called on the National Assembly to address the infrastructural problems faced by riverine communities in Rivers State by creating new state.
With headquarters in Degema, Dr Nembere declared that remote areas like Kula and Soku would linked to the upland so as to provide both economic and political space for them.
The new state he further stated would cover from Abua area to the Andoni area, adding that the state has enormous economic resources to make it viable.
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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