The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja last Wednesday queried the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr Kingsley Kuku, for poor implementation of the 2012 budget for the Presidential Amnesty Programme.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Warman Ogoriman (PDP- Bayelsa), said from the explanation of the Amnesty Office, the committee was not convinced about the implementation of the budget.
“In view of the observations made by members, it is clear that the Amnesty Office cannot convince this committee on how the appropriated funds were uutilised. “I will therefore close this session and ask the special adviser to go and come back next Tuesday with concrete facts,” the chairman said.
Earlier, Kuku said that N63 billion appropriated in the budget had not been released to the office by the Budget Office.
He said 26,328 ex-militants had been fully disarmed and demobilised, while 2,875 were undergoing entrepreneurial training.
He also said that 5,209 of the militants had been gainfully employed, while 8,084 ex-agitators had been successfully placed in rehabilitation centres.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N98.588 billion for 28 infrastructural development projects in nine oil producing states in the country.
The states include Rivers, Cross-River, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Imo and Abia. Minister of Information, Labara Maku disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents. On the outcome of the Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan. Maku said the approval was sequel to a memorandum presented to council by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“Today the Commission brought to Council a memorandum seeking to carry out 28 projects in the oil producing States. “These projects caught across road construction, bridges, land reclamation and erosion problem as well as in some instances power supply and education.
“Mainly what the Commission has done is to bring these projects which they will implement between now and 2014,” .
The information minister said the contracts were approved in line with the Federal Government’s determination to create a conducive environment for sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.
Maku said the Council also approved a N317 .922 billion contract for the completion of the Shagari irrigation project in Sokoto State. He said the project was awarded in 2007 but could not be completed due to lack of funds.
Also speaking, the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochekpe, said when completed in the next six months, the project would cover 220 hectares of land for irrigation.
She said that the project would have the capacity to produce 1,540 tonnes of rice and 3,300 tonnes of vegetables, with at least 2,640 persons engaged.
The council also approved contracts for the construction and rehabilitation of five roads across the North-West, South-South, South-East and North-Central geo-political zones of the country.
The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, who disclosed this at the briefing, said that with the onset of the dry season, government was prepared to deploy resources and energy toward the provision of roads.
Wike, Driver Of Nigeria’s True Federalism -Nsirim
The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has described the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as a man whose vision is to place Nigeria on the path of true federalism.
Nsirim, who said this when he appeared as guest on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, as part of the ministry’s second phase advocacy campaign programme, #OurStateOurResponsibility, emphasised that Wike has remained the face of democracy in Nigeria today.
“The point I would want every Rivers person to understand first is, today we have a Governor Wike, a visionary leader beyond Rivers State and beyond the shores of Nigeria.
“What you have seen with the VAT issue just clearly shows that we have a man at this time in history who has taken it upon himself to right the wrongs and place Nigeria on the path of true federalism,” he said.
He said the second phase of the campaign would encompass issues evolving around the developmental strides of Governor Nyesom Wike’s administration in the areas of infrastructure, healthcare delivery, education, agriculture, rehabilitation of the less privileged, security architecture and sports.
“Remember, and I like making this point because people need to know where we are coming from. In 2015, this man was told they would see where he would see money to pay salaries and do projects.
“He inherited four months’ unpaid salaries. He inherited five months’ pension arrears. This was the only administration in Nigeria that did not get a handover note from the previous administration, but look at where we are. We are in a place of glory.
“Development here has entered a golden era. I also make the point that because Governor Wike is a people-oriented governor, even the less privileged feels the impact of his administration. The Rehabilitation Centre we have at Iriebe today is the best in the country”, Nsirim said.
The commissioner said that the governor would always welcome constructive criticism from the public, and would treat them legitimately but regretted that some of the criticisms, which he said, emanate from the vocal minority, were armchair criticisms.
He emphasised that the ultimate desire of the governor was to make Rivers State the destination of choice.
He said the second phase of the #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign would, therefore, focus on enlisting citizens’ participation in the policies and programmes of government.
“The second phase is now citizens’ participation. We have done advocacy, let us feel the pulse of the people. How much have they internalised the message. So, we are starting first with essay competition and the target group is between 16 and 25 years.
“We really want to feel the pulse of the younger people because those are the leaders of tomorrow. Then we have a team song competition.
“We want to develop a team song for the campaign and the skit competition. That too we want to use to get everybody involved. The grand finale will be the film competition,” he said.
He said winners of the competitions would have prizes, consolation prizes and would be celebrated as the face of the ministry’s #OurStateOurResponsibility campaign.
He said the competition would also be used to set the right values in place for people to begin to showcase merit, hardwork and integrity in society.
Jonathan Wants NARD To Suspend Strike
Former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan had appealed to the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) and the Federal Government to quickly resolve the ongoing industrial conflict to save lives in the country.
Jonathan made the plea during the 57th annual conference and scientific workshop of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State.
He stated that the importance of the medical profession could not be over-emphasised, just as he commended members of the Medical Laboratory Science Association for their steadfastness during the pandemics which had taken place recently in the nation.
The ex-president charged the Medical Scientists to continue investigating the causes of diseases,with a view to also working on prevention mechanisms and possible cure for it when ever they occur, saying that if the country must develope, the medical sector has to play a pivotal role.
In same vein,the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri has charged the Federal Government to work on an harmonised salary structure for all medical workers in the country.
He said if there had been an harmonised salary structure for all personnel of the medical profession in Nigeria, the issues of unending industrial strikes due to wages-related matters would have been a thing of the past.
Diri, represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said all personnel in the healthcare delivery chain were important and therefore should be treated fairly on the platform of equity.
According to the governor, medical laboratory scientists are indispensable to the physician’s ability to properly diagnose and treat ailments in the health system.
He pointed out that although the medical laboratory profession is at the forefront of investigating diseases, it has not been accorded the recognition it rightly deserves in Nigeria.
Governor Diri, who urged the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector, suggested that states and local governments should be given more responsibilities and resources to provide services to the people, just as he said the Federal Government was currently being overwhelmed by the challenges in the health sector, hence there is the urgent need for devolution of power to save the sector from total collapse
“I want to call on the Federal Government to carry out a holistic reform in the health sector of our country. The salaries and allowances for all categories of health personnel in Nigeria should be harmonised.
“All personnel in the health sector are important and should be treated on the platform of equity. The medical laboratory scientists are involved in the proper investigation of diseases, but they are least recognised in Nigeria.
“Only an harmonised salary structure in the health sector will bring about equity. Experience has shown that if you satisfy the medical doctors, the nurses would complain”, he said.
“If you satisfy the nurses, then the pharmacists will complain; if you satisfy the pharmacists, the environmental health workers would complain and come up with their own fresh demands.Let’s reflect on this issue of disparity of pay package in the health sector in this conference. However, here in Bayelsa State, the challenges facing the AMLSN are being addressed by government, as follow up to our health summit. We are working on the legal framework, and also to incorporate task-shifting to achieve better results and outcomes”, he added.
In a keynote address, Dr. Azibapu Eruani, Group president,Azikel Companies called for effective collaboration in funding and promotion of research in preparing against the outbreak of any pandemic in the future to forestall its attendant human, social and economic losses.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, said the AMLSN was in the forefront of building capacity for guiding medical doctors in the handling of clinical cases and treatment of patients.
Represented by the Chief Medical Director, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Dr. Dennis Alagoa, the Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari had set up the health sector reform committee to address challenges facing the sector and improve healthcare delivery in the country.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Delta Revokes Asaba-Oko Road Contract
Delta State Government on Tuesday announced that it had revoked the multi-million naira contract for the construction of Asaba/Oko-Amakom/Oko-Obiokpu/Oko-Anala Road over poor performance.
The road contract which was awarded in 2018, transverses Oko communities in Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state, and has been a major challenge to the state government over the years due to the peculiar topography of the area.
Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, told journalists at the end of the state’s Executive Council meeting in Asaba, that the meeting presided over by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, revoked the contract because the contractor was not working in line with the speed expected by the government after collecting mobilisation funds
He explained that government would check its records and evaluate the contract performance with a view to finding out if the contractor would refund some money to government or not.
He disclosed that the state government would engage another contractor with adequate capacity to complete the job in line with the speed required for the completion of the project.
On the other decisions of the Council, Aniagwu disclosed that as part of efforts to provide potable water and reduce communicable diseases, the state government had approved the construction and reticulation of a major water scheme in Okerenkoko in Warri South Local government Area.
He also added that the council approved the inclusion of certain erosion sites in Warri as part of efforts to address flooding in the twin cities of Warri and Effurun.
“On education, Exco approved the demolition and reconstruction of a two-storey building not in best of shape at West End Grammar School, Asaba.
“The project includes expansion of the building to 20 classrooms to enable the school run one session instead of the morning and afternoon sessions it was currently operating and the provision of a conference hall for assembly as well as toilets.
“Exco today also approved the renaming of Ogini Grammar School, Oghara to Ogini Model Secondary School, Oghara and the approval of training and acquisition of starter packs in ICT for youths in the state for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
“At today’s Exco, we also discussed the provisions made for the various ministries in the 2022 proposed budget and the possibility of a supplementary budget for 2021,” he stated.
On Covid-19 pandemic, Aniagwu said Exco has directed that a massive sensitisation of members of the public be carried out again on measures being taken to control the spread of the pandemic.
“With the return of the third wave and Delta variant, a number of persons have paid the supreme price on account of the attack including members of government.
“The Governor has directed that there was need to continue sensitisation on members of the public to continue adhering to the non-pharmaceuticals of regular hand washing, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
“Government is not considering another lock down in view of the hardship the pandemic has posed to the economy.
“We however, appeal to everybody to be personally responsible in helping to curb the spread of the virus
“Beyond that, government has asked everybody to come out for vaccination because we have made at least six points available in every local government and markets across the state,” he further stated.
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