The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday approved the sum of N2billion for the state government to obtain a grant under the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) N200billion Agricultural credit scheme for the state.
The approval followed a letter from the state Governor, Rt Hon Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to the House, requesting for the approval to enable the state government access N2billion credit grant from Zenith Bank Plc under the FGN/CBN commercial Agriculture credit scheme currently being pursued by all state of the federation.
Reading the governor’s letter at the floor of the House, the chairman, House committee on Agriculture, Hon Ewor Nname told the lawmakers that the letter was sequel to representations made by the commissioner for Agriculture to the state executive council seeking approval to access the N2billion from Zenith Bank Plc under the FGN/CBN scheme.
Hon Nname stated that the fund, if accessed will be utilized in the development of the oil palm and other sectors, adding that the state has some comparative advantage in agriculture.
The lawmaker stated that the state executive council at its recent meeting approved the submission made by the commissioner for Agriculture in that regards in order to enhanced development of agriculture in the state, adding that some states had already accessed the fund.
He continued that over 241 registered cooperatives farmers in the 23 local government areas of the state have indicated their interest and willingness to access the fund, adding that the state government can not access the huge sum of money without the knowledge and approval of the state House of Assembly.
He thus urged the lawmakers to approve the governor’s request, saying that the gesture would boost agriculture in the state.
Kick starting debate on the matter, Hon Kitchner Ibroma while urging the lawmakers to give the governor’s request emphasized the urgent attention it deserved.
He that the measure would further reveal the state government’s commitment to agricultural development in the state.
In their various contributions, Hon Kamalu Isaac, Taneh Felicia, Hope Ikiriko, Onari Brown and Hon Ogiri Henry stated that the fund, if approved as requested by the state governor, will assist in the production of food in the state.
The lawmakers described the request as timely and legitimate, noting that agricultural development is a basic tool for economic development of any state.
The state legislators were unanimous that the fund being sought by the state government would serve an encouragement for farmers in the state.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps
The House of Representatives has said that three out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.
Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death
Representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammed Bello.
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”
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