Delta State may lose support from donor agencies in its fight against HIV/AIDS if it fails to change its committee on the disease to an agency at the end of this month.
The donor agencies had asked state governments, which had “committee’’ as body in charge of HIV/AIDS matters to change them to “ Agency’’ as a condition for sustenance of their relationship.
The agencies, including those owned by the UN, reasoned that “committee’’ was ad hoc while “Agency’’ was legal and permanent and gave the states till December 31, 2011 as deadline to comply.
The international bodies gave the ultimatum in the first quarter of 2011 and the change as required by them entailed legislation by Houses of Assembly of the states, to establish “Agency’’ for AIDS administration.
But the deadline, it was learnt, was extended to March 2012, for Delta, after it approached the agencies with a plea that it needed a few weeks to fully comply with the directive.
Our investigation, however, revealed that the issue of a law for the establishment of an “agency’’ for AIDS control in the state, the main condition given by the donor organisations, appeared to have been put at the “back’’ burner by the state government.
It was learnt that the executive arm of the government sent a bill to the House of Assembly on the matter in the last legislative year but the bill was returned for “ proper drafting’’.
“But from the time that it was returned and this moment, the bill has yet to be re-presented to the Assembly’’, a source at the Assembly said.
A senior official in the office of the Clerk of the Assembly, who pleaded anonymity, said “since the first bill on the matter was returned, last legislative year, no other one has been brought’’.
This position was further confirmed by the Project Manager, Delta State Action Committee on AIDS, Dr John Osuyali, who told newsmen that the returned bill was yet to be re-presented to the Assembly.
“We at DELSACA have done everything required by the donor agencies except the law to establish an agency for AIDS control, to replace the present committee in the state.
“And to facilitate the preparation of the bill for the required law, we made all necessary input into the draft early last year.
“Even, it was because we satisfied other conditions, leaving only the enactment of the law, that we got the three months extension of deadline, till the end of March.’’
Contacted, the Commissioner for Health, Dr Joseph Otumara, admitted that the state would lose donations from the international organisations if it failed to meet their conditions at the expiration of the extended deadline.
He declined to comment on the bill, only saying that his ministry would liaise with the House of Assembly Committee on Health on the issue.
Host Community Set To Resolve Chieftaincy Tussles
Otuasega community of Ogbia council area of Bayelsa State has said they were willing to resolve the protracted chieftaincy tussle bedeviling the community before August this year.
The Tide learnt this at the weekend by the community’s interim leader and CDC chairman, Mr Igbuasi Gbanibebi.
Igbuasi who also doubles as the chief security officer of the SPDC’s host community hinted that the community’s leadership has resolved to end all contentious court cases on who becomes the Paramount ruler of the community.
He regretted that the suits instituted by the contenders to the throne, owing to the 2018 disputed chieftaincy election of the community have impeded development.
“We’ve decided as a community to withdraw all the cases concerning our chieftaincy election from court.
Though our tenure as CDC and community leadership would end by August this year, we’re resolve to end all cases and install a paramount ruler before we leave office on or before August”, he said.
“We’re talking to the contenders to the throne, hopefully they’re are cooperating, but should they refused, we would ask all of them to stop drawing us backwards and use the old traditional means or ask the clergy in the community to fast and pray, and then tell us whom God has ordained as our Paramount ruler”, he added.
Igbuasi who also spoke on the prevailing peace in the community in the absent of a substantive monarch commended the joint task force, JTF, Police and the community’s own vigilante service for sustaining the peace in the area.
Diri Solicits S’Korea’s Partnership On Agric, Infrastructure Dev
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has sought the partnership and support of South Korea in areas of agricultural, maritime and infrastructure development of the state.
At a meeting with the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, in Abuja, Governor Diri said given its maritime similarity with Bayelsa State, the state also needed the South Korean expertise and partnership in developing deep-sea fishing, aquaculture and rice cultivation.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as saying that the state was equally interested in partnership in education, science and technology as well as in oil and gas.
He said his administration pays serious attention to the issue of security as top priority and has conscientiously worked with the security agencies to make Bayelsa and its maritime domain safer than before.
“The purpose of this meeting is to explore areas of economic partnership and seek the expertise of South Korea in developing our state and its economy.
“Bayelsa has huge potential in agriculture and marine resources. We seek foreign investment in aquaculture and deep-sea fishing. Our terrain is good for aquaculture to thrive as well as rice cultivation and production with the large expanse of land already in Peremabiri and Sampou. We are trying to revive the culture of farming in our state. The government is interested in commercial farming as against the culture of subsistence farming that a lot of our people engage in”, he said.
“The South Korean expertise is also required in the production of plastics, in science and technology and the oil and gas sector. Our administration is taking deliberate steps to open up the state. This can be done through massive road construction and development of infrastructure, including how to control the perennial flooding in our state. We seek your partnership and expertise too in this area”, he added.
Governor Diri noted that such partnership would help in empowering youths of the state that would be given training in order to check youth restiveness and militancy.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Anambra Guber Poll: Bayelsa Deputy Gov Predicts Victory For PDP
Ahead of the November 6 Governorship Election in Anambra State, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would coast home to victory in the south-east state.
Ewhrudjakpo expressed the optimism at the state Party Secretariat in Awka shortly after leading a committee to conduct the election of local government delegates for the forthcoming PDP primaries in Anambra State.
A statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor was quoted as, describing the exercise as smooth and successful, noting that 21 delegates were elected in the process.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who is the Chairman of the committee, disclosed that additional 21 physically challenged persons representing the 21 local government areas of the state were also chosen by members of the party.
While expressing delight at the show of unity and cooperation among the various stakeholders of the PDP in the state, he maintained that there were strong prospects, that the party has what it takes to win the November 6 election.
According to the Bayelsa Deputy Governor, the PDP delegates were elected in a peaceful, free and fair manner under the supervision of officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He added that as a law abiding party, the PDP would soon conduct its primaries in accordance with the timeline provided by INEC and give whoever emerges as its flag bearer all the needed support with a view to winning the election.
He thanked the National chairman of the Party, Prince Uche Secondus, the Chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal and Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa state for giving him and members of the Committee the opportunity to serve the party.
“It has been a very successful programme. As you can see, there is no protest going on. Everywhere is peaceful and calm. So we have successfully completed the exercise, which was witnessed by INEC. Members of our party have freely elected 21 delegates of their choice and also 21 physically challenged persons to represent those who are going to participate in the primaries”, he said.
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