Th Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, had turned down a N150 million offer from the Gokana local government area chairman, for the rural water project in the area.
The money, which was a voluntary contribution from the Gokana chairman to the state government, was meant for the actualisation of the Gokana water project for the 17 communities of the local government area.
Governor Amaechi who announced the return of the N150 million to the local government area’s coffers Saturday, said the decision which was made by the State Executive Council in their last sitting, was in recognition of the Chairman’s performance as one of the four best performing local government area chairmen in the state.
“As an honour for his efforts in the development of the council area, the State Executive Council had decided to fund the Gokana water project, and so the N150 million contribution from the council, is hereby returned to them”, Governor Amaechi said.
He used the occasion to call on other council chairmen to justify their election by embarking on projects that have direct bearing on the lives of their people and emulate the Gokana Loacl Government Chairman to deliver the dividends of democracy to the grassroots.
Governor Amaechi, who was in the Local government area for commissioning of projects executed by the council hinted that leaders seeking re-election must show their performance as a testimonial, and congratulated Chief Victor Giadom for the construction of an Ultra Modern market, roads and the Skills Acquisition Centre for the use of the people.
Governor Amaechi said his administration would continue to recognise and encourage the third-tier of government to deliver quality services to the people, stressing that more modern primary schools and health centres would be built in the state next year.
The State Chief Executive also used the opportunity to warn youths of the area, particularly those living around the Bodo axis, who engage in illegal bunkering, to desist from the act as security operatives would soon clamp down on them.
He explained that the illegal activities had polluted the waters around the area, and it would ultimately affect those engaged in fishing as a means of livelihood.
Speaking as Chairman at the reception, Justice Peter Akere (Rtd.), said the people were impressed with the leadership of Chief Victor Giadom especially with his quarterly rendering of accounts to the people and embarking on projects that touch more lives.
Justice Akere also urged the state governor to remain steadfast, courageous and focused because his administration has set a new agenda for infrastructural development in the state.
In his welcome address, the chairman of Gokana Local Government Area, Chief Victor Giadom, said the newly commissioned market has 300 shops and stores, complemented with facilities like sick bay, fire office, and toilets.
Chief Giadom also noted that his council has embarked on the training of 1,140 youths in various skills acquisition programmes to empower them to be self-employed and earn legitimate income, which was officially flagged off by the wife of the Governor, Lady Judith Amaechi.
The Gokana Local Government Chairman said the people of the area are satisfied with the policies and programmes of Governor Amaechi’s government and pledged their unalloyed loyalty to the present administration.
The State governor, accompanied by his wife, Dame Judith Amaechi, had earlier paid a courtesy visit on the Gberemene Gokana Kingdom, King Barnabas Bagia.
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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