The International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-assisted Community National Resource Management Programme (BNRMP) in Delta may suffer set back due to non-release of funds.
Mr Chris Abua, Delta IFAD Programme Officer, said made this known in an interview with the newsmen in Asaba.
He said that the state government and its local councils were defaulting in counterpart funds contribution to the programme.
Abua said that out of the nine local government areas currently benefiting from the assistance, only three made initial contributions in 2007 while the state government paid up to 2008.
The programme, which he said, started in the state in 2006 but with effective funding and operation in 2007, was designed to improve the living standard of families in “poorest of poor communities”.
Abua expressed regret that the failure of the state and the local councils to make their contributions was affecting remittance of funds from IFAD and NDDC, which provide the substantial funds.
He said that the programme took off in the state with 300,000 dollars (about N45 million) provided by IFAD through the World Bank as financiers.
Abua explained that the state government complemented it with its contribution of N14.2 million in 2006, N16.25 million each in 2007 and 2008.
He, however, said that the state had since 2009 when its contribution was reviewed to N36.25 million, failed to contribute, adding that IFAD and NDDC had also defaulted in their contributions in 2010.
Abua explained that the budget of the scheme was increased in 2009 when it became necessary to expand the projects from three local government areas to nine and 27 communities in the state.
He flayed the local councils for not making efforts to pay their counterpart funds in spite of the presence of the programme in their communities.
Abua said that families, groups and communities in the areas covered by the programme enjoyed credit facilities, trainings and skills acquisition as well as the provision of infrastructure.
He expressed regret that the programme’s activities in the state were declining due to paucity of funds and appealed to all the parties, especially the state government and local councils to meet their commitments.
“The issue is not the budget but the release of the funds. The government and local councils through agreements signed showed great enthusiasm and willingness to operate the scheme, but they are failing now,” Abua said.
He stressed that counterpart funds were the assurances of continuity of the programme and added that IFAD might sanction the state for defaulting in its contributions to the programme.
Abua advised that to avoid bottlenecks associated with the scheme’s funds; contributions should be made direct to the community development account, which is regularly checked by the supervisor in every state.
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr Tony Nwaka, admitted that the state and some local councils were in arrears of counterpart contributions to the programme.
But he assured IFAD and NDDC that the counterpart funds would soon be defrayed.
Nwaka said: “Yes, this administration is in arrears in the payment of counterpart funds, we are planning with high hopes, to meet this obligation as soon as possible.
“All efforts are being made to ensure that all outstanding state and local government counterpart funds are paid.”
Diri Charges Security Agencies On Intelligence Gathering
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has urged security agencies to invest more time and resources in intelligence gathering in their effort to overcome banditry, insurgency and other securty challenges confronting the country.
He made the call at a retirement party organized by the state government in honour of the outgoing state Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, in Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor emphasized the need for security agencies to adopt a holistic approach that will encourage the active participation of civilians in their campaign against insecurity.
According to Senator Diri, until security is seen as everyone’s business in society, the use of kinetic approach to addressing security challenges will yield little or no meaningful result.
While calling on the police and other security outfits to be above board in the performance of their duties, he urged people of the state to always volunteer information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of criminals in the state.
“Security is everybody’s business, but more often than not it is seen as nobody’s responsibility. Sometimes we want somebody to do something about security, and nobody does anything about it, and at the end of the day security is not taken seriously.
“But somebody has to do something about security. We should all do something about security so that our state can be safe.I will like our security agencies to be more proactive and preemptive in carrying out their duties because it is cheaper to be preventive. They have to make more effort in the area of intelligence gathering from the civil populace”, he said.
Describing CP Mike Okoli as a refined product with an unblemished record throughout his service in the Nigeria Police, Governor Diri said society had a lot to learn from the wealth of experience of the retiring Commissioner of Police.
He acknowledged the sacrifices being made by security personnel, noting that some of them get killed or become paralyzed in the course of securing lives and property, and therefore, must be appreciated in society.
“We need to learn a lot from the experiences of CP Mike Okoli. He had good cooperation with his colleagues in the state. No wonder, Bayelsa State had a decline in crime during their service in this state. As a government, we are very grateful. We know what these people (security agents) pass through. As civilians, we sleep at the risk of their breath, spine and throat.
“When you are sleeping and a crime is being committed, the Commissioner of Police and other service commanders would rush out because there is something going on.We are praying for CP Mike Okoli that as you are going into your retirement… from the Nigerian Police, we thank God on your behalf for being who you are and who you are going to be”, he added.
Earlier in their separate goodwill messages, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, His Royal Majesty King Alfred Diete-Spiff, and the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, Assistant Inspector General, Don Awunah, acknowledged CP Okoli’s contributions to the relative peace and security in the state.
They described him as an outstanding and accomplished officer with an unblemished track record in the Nigerian Police and wished him the best in his future endeavours.
Responding, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, thanked Governor Douye Diri, and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, for honouring him by hosting his retirement thanksgiving reception.
Okoli also thanked the service commanders and everyone who made out time to attend the event, especially the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, A.I.G Don Awunah, and prayed God to bless them.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Delta Commissioner Urges Students To Study Hard
Commissioner for Secondary Education in Delta State, Mrs Rose Ezewu, has urged Nigerian students to always study hard to excel in their examinations to become productive adults.
Ezewu made the plea yesterday, while monitoring the ongoing third term promotion examinations in some schools across the state.
According to her, this is one way for students to broaden their minds, knowledge and become successful individuals, problem solvers, employers and wealth creators in the society.
The commissioner described teachers as critical stakeholders in the development of any society, especially in the area of building and shaping the orientation of children.
“Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is committed to transforming the education sector by ensuring a conducive teaching and learning environment for students and teachers in the state.
“Teachers should reciprocate government’s huge investment in the education sector by being more committed to their duties,’’ she said.
Some of the schools monitored by the commissioner and her team included Okeme Secondary School, Okuokoko in Okpe Local Government Area and Ogbe Secondary School, Effurun.
Others are Alegbon Secondary School, Ekpan, both in Uvwie Local Government Area, and Edjeba College in Warri South Local Government Area.
Don Advocates Balance Between Demand, Supply Of Teachers
Prof. Ebele Egwunyenga of the Delta State University, Abraka, yesterday advocated an equilibrium between the demand for and supply of teachers in the school system
Egwunyenga made the assertion in a paper she presented at the 7th Quadrennial 8th State Delegates Conference of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State Chapter, in Asaba.
She said that adequate personnel is essential in the sustainability of Nigeria’s educational system.
According to her, adequacy is not limited to the number of personnel as it includes equitable distribution of teachers according to areas of specialisation.
“I recommend that government should ensure that there is equilibrium between teachers’ demand and supply in the school system.
“Government should improve on social amenities, particularly in rural areas. This will encourage teachers posted to the area.
“Government should provide modern technology for both teaching and learning. School facilities should be made attractive by government such that teachers would wish to be in school daily.”
Egwunyenga, who underscored the importance of education in nation building, said that education remained the vehicle for sustainable socio-economic development of any nation.
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