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Disasters: NEMA Boss Seeks More Funds

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The South-South Coordinator of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Emenike Umesi, has solicited more funding for disaster control efforts in Cross River.

He made the call in an interview with newsmen in Calabar

Umesi noted that Cross River had some peculiar disaster-control problems among other states in the Niger Delta region, which required increased funding by the Federal Government and major stakeholders, including international organisations.

He stressed that the N400 million grant, which the state received from the Federal Government for last year’s flood disaster, was inadequate.

He said that prior to the floods, which ravaged several parts of the country, Cross River had been contending with numerous challenges brought about by natural hazards.

“Cross River is a disaster-prone area. Disaster happens every day across the state and before the flooding in October last year, the state started spending money in September on disaster control.

“So, for Cross River, I think they should begin to ask for more funds from both the Federal Government and the international community because theirs is a peculiar situation.

“There is no type of natural disaster that is not present in the state; from rainstorm to windstorm, to landslide, mudslide, drought and flooding,” he said.

The NEMA boss, however, commended the state government for its disaster management efforts, noting that it was one of the states in the region that was doing well in that regard.

He said that Cross River had a functional State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), adding that disaster management was fast becoming a great global concern.

He, therefore, urged state governments in the South-South geopolitical zone to make disaster management a top priority, saying: “If you do not fund disaster management, then, you have not really embarked on pragmatic administration.

“If you have an emergency management agency that is not well-funded and backed by law, then, you are just playing with the lives of the people,’’ he warned.

He called on legislatures in states in the region to quicken the passage of pending bills on the establishment of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in their respective states.

He, however, advised those states, which had yet to forward SEMA bills to their legislatures, to do so without further delay, saying that laws setting up emergency management agencies should be given priority attention.

Umesi noted that was a paradigm shift in disaster management procedures from “reactive emergency management to proactive emergency management”.

“We are no longer looking at what will happen when disaster occurs but at the vulnerability of our people,’’ he added.

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Niger Delta

Abducted NLC Chairman Regains Freedom In C’River

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The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Cross River State chapter, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, who was kidnapped three months ago, has regained his freedom.
Our correspondent reports that Ukpepi was kidnapped from his house at CROSPIL in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of the State on March 21, 2021.
The Vice Chairman, NLC, Cross River State, Comrade Lawrence Achuta, said the victim was released on Monday by 3.30pm.
In a statement, he said, “Recall that Ben Ukpepi was kidnapped from his CROSPIL estate residence in Akpabuyo on the 21st of March 2021.
“We are very glad, and thankful to God Almighty for his safe release by the Kidnappers.
“I use this opportunity to thank the Organised Labour family in the State, particularly the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Medical and Health Workers Union and some members of his family.
“He is undergoing some routine medical checks at the moment. Once again, I thank all who stood by us throughout this difficult moment,” he quipped.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard

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The Bayelsa State Government is set to establish a new body charged with the responsibility of protecting the environment from degradation and other environment related causes.
This was made known to newsmen, Tuesday during the celebration of the 2021World Environment Day by the state government in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Tide gathered that the United Nations had declared 5th June every year as World Environment Day, necessitating the Bayelsa State government to commemorate the 2021 Environment Day Tuesday, 15 June, 2021 following other activities which had earlier caused its postponement penultimate week by the state government.
Giving approvals to demands made by the State Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri, as contained in his welcome address for the occasion, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, restated government’s commitment towards protecting the state’s ecosystems and all matters relating to the environment within the available resources of the state.
Diri noted that following his willingness to promote policies and make decisions aimed at protecting the state’s Ecosystems from further degradation, the state government recently had made approvals for the shore protection work of Obogoro community in the Yenagoa council area of the state.
He promised to do same subsequently for other affected communities of the state, assuring that government would soon work on an executive bill to set up the state ‘Environment Vanguard’.
“The prosperity government shall soon work on a legislation to set up the state Environment Vanguard”, he said.
“This vanguard, when established would work with the ministry of environment and other relevant stakeholders in the environment sector to protect our Ecosystems and environment from continuous degradation”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Honourable Gbaranbiri, has said the ministry of environment intends to deal decisively with those who were in the habit of flagrantly disrespecting nvironmental safety rules and guidelines in the state.
Gbaranbiri cautioned people to desist forthwith from ecosystem and unfriendly environmental phenomena, just as he stated that the ministry of environment had recently apprehended some persons,(names withheld) whom he said were involved in some unfriendly activities on the environment.
He commended Governor Diri for making funds available to the ministry for the execution of various environmental functions, pleading that the governor shore up the financial provisions made available to the ministry due to rising environmental challenges.
“ I commend the executive governor, his excellency, Governor Douye Diri, for making funds available for the ministry of environment, for the execution of its functions and programmes. But I also want to plead that you increase the funding coming to the ministry, because of the increasing environmental challenges”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the theme of the 2021 world Environment Day was tagged: ‘Join the Campaign to Restore our Ecosystem’
Similarly, guest lecturer for the occasion and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, professor, Ibaba, S. Ibaba has called on government to implement guidelines and rules governing the environment to the letter, noting that the lack of political will by state actors in managing the environment was the bane of a clean, healthy and safe environment for all.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations

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The United Nigeria Airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bayelsa State Government for the commencement of direct scheduled flight operations into and out of Bayelsa International Airport.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the agreement in a statement in Lagos yesterday.
Uchegbu explained that according to the terms of the agreement, United Nigeria would operate four daily flights in and out of the airport.
“United Nigeria will service the Bayelsa International Airport daily from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“With the MoU, the airline will commence direct flight operations to Bayelsa International Airport in July,” he said.
Uchegbu said that the MoU was signed in the presence of Gov. Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and the state’s executive council.
Speaking, Diri noted that with the signing of the MoU, Bayelsans would begin to reap the benefits of the government’s investment in infrastructure.
The governor said that the venture would open Bayelsa, the resource base of Nigeria to the world.
Diri said the airline was chosen as partner because of its quality of service and efficiency.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), United Nigeria Airline, Mr Osita Okonkwo, thanked the government and people of the state for choosing it.
He gave assurance that the airline would continue to offer the quality service that the airline was known for.

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