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Promoting Girl Child Education

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The Agbonchia
Community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State is now in a joyous mood following steps by some of its indigenes towards giving indigent students of the area greater educational opportunities.
The occasion was the inauguration of foundation for the promotion of University and Technical Education in the community. The foundation christened after late Chief (Sir) John Okparaji Obele(JP), which has all his thirteen (13) children as trustees, also gave maximum advantage to female members of the community in their educational pursuit.
Late Chief (Sir) John Okparaji Obele(JP) was the paramount ruler of Agbonchia before his death in 2010. He was an educationist and a promoter of girl-child education not only in Agbonchia his immediate community, but the entire Eleme Local Government Area.
His avowed commitment to the Girl-Child Education, it was gathered, was responsible for the quality education given to all his daughters among who is the current c airman of the Rivers State Board of Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) Onene Osila Obele-Oshoko.
A copy of the biography made available to The Tide indicates that the late chief taught for 16 years in both primary and secondary schools before being absorbed into the mainstream civil service.
While in the civil service, he was said to have held positions such as administrative officer housing matters, Secretary to Departmental Selection Board, Executive Secretary Rivers State Tourism Board, Pioneer Executive Secretary and Deputy Rivers State and Stadium Authority and later as Principal of the Staff Development Centre Port Harcourt.
Children of the late John Okparaji Obele, in recognition of their father’s great strides, especially in the education sector were of the view that time has come for a foundation that will promote the core values of their father, especially, in the promotion of the girl-child education in Agbonchia . At a meeting in Port Harcourt recently the children of the late Chief reeled out objectives of the foundation to include an annual scholarship for indigent students of Agbonchia; five students for University and two for technical training.
According to them, the areas of emphasis would be law, medicine, engineering, accountancy and economics; for the technical field, the foundation would give more emphasis to indigenes of the community wishing to go into pipe-fitting and welding.
It was also revealed that out of the five undergraduate scholarships to be awarded by the foundation, three are for female candidates.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen during the meeting the chairman of the foundation, Dr Princewili Olungeonwi Suny Obele said that apart from keeping the memories of their father alive, the Foundation is to give back to the society what the family has received.
Dr. Obele also said that the situation would make the Agbonchia Community and the entire Eleme to continue to feel the impact of their father even though he is no more physically present with them. By this, the late educationist would continue to train Agbonchia sons and daughters for a very long time to come.
He explained that beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme who must be indigent students of Agbonchia must study in Nigerian public universities. According to him “they must be people of strong character and must not be found wanting in any way. They must not be found to be members of any secret cult. They will constantly be monitored to ensure that they keep to the tenets for which the scholarship was awarded to them”.
He also ruled out favouritism during the selection process, noting that the process would be conducted in a transparent manner that would be devoid of sectionalism, as every candidate will be subjected to the same clear terms for selection.
Dr Obele also said that the success of the scheme in the next few years will determine its extension to cover other communities in Eleme.
Osila said that as the first female graduate in Agbonchia and first female chartered accountant in Eleme Local Government Area, her father has set a record in the community as far as Girl-Child Education is concerned. She said that the family would continue on that line through the encouragement of women education in the community.
The children listed-some benefits the programme would bring to the community to include boosting education with a view to increasing development through skilled labour and reducing poverty in the area. The widow of Late Chief John Obele, Lady Beatrice Ochen Obele who is the grand- matron of the Foundation described the charity as a necessary ingredient for the promotion of quality education in the community.
Lady Obele who herself is an educationist said that gone are the days when a woman’s place is only in the kitchen, stressing that her husband during his life time was a promoter of Girl-Child Education.
The Sir (Chief) John OkparajiObele(JP) Foundation is a good one and must be supported to achieve set objective especially if others sharing same aspiration join hands to broaden the scope  for more impact.
Also speaking, vice chairman of the foundation, Engr Abey –Obele said that the programme which takes off from the next academic session will be carried out by a panel that would comprise of all personalities in the area.
Engr Abey-Obele said that the family would ensure that the scheme is properly funded with a view to achieving its set target.
On the benefits of the scheme to the area, he said that it would improve education and the socio-economic standard of Agbonchia and other Eleme communities.
According to him, the beneficiaries who must be indigent students of Akpajo will be thoroughly screened to ensure that they are people who are good both in academic and in character.
Engr. Abey-Obele further said that apart form promoting academic excellence, the scheme would also check youth restiveness as more youths in the area will acquire useful skills that will improve their condition.
He further explained that the foundation will set a high standard both in the scholarships and the technical field and advised would be beneficiaries to take their learning seriously.
Some indigenes of the community who spoke to The Tide on the issue thanked the siblings of late Chief John Okparaji Obele for inaugurating a scholarship in memory of their fathers in the community.
According to elder Sunday Jah, the scheme will enable the people of Agbonchia to acquire the necessary skills that will improve the conditions of the community.
Elder Jah described the late paramount ruler as a great man whose influenced has touched every families of Agbonchia and commended the children for following in the foot steps of their father.
He also advised the youths of the community by law abiding, noting that success does not just fall from his area as everyone has to work for it.
Across section of the people who also spoke on the issue described the foundation as a good one that must be supported to achieve set objective especially if others sharing same aspiration join hands to broaden the scope for more impact.

The Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Bonny, the Very Revd Richard I. Hart with other dignitaries presenting the first position trophy to the winning school - Spring Foundation College, Bonny.

The Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Bonny, the Very Revd Richard I. Hart with other dignitaries presenting the first position trophy to the winning school – Spring Foundation College, Bonny.

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60 -Year – Old Man Commits Suicide After Assaulting Daughter

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A sixty-year-old man (name withheld) has committed suicide after he was caught having sex with his biological daughter of 17 years old.
The incident occurred at Amaigbo in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State recently.
Report reaching The Tide, said the man denied when the news was making the rounds that he was having affair with his daughter for some years.
The Tide learnt that after his denial, the community set a close watch on him and set a surveillance on.
The cat was let out of the bag, when after about one week of his denial, he was caught on top of his daughter, having carnal knowledge of her.
According to the report, the members of his community descended on him and gave him thorough beating and stripped him naked and he was taken to the palace of the traditional ruler of the community, where they performed certain rituals to appease the land.
Apparently worried about the stigma and scandal involved, he decided to commit suicide to avoid the embarrassment he might face from the community.
When the sad news reached the wife of the man who was already in the market, out of shame, she decided to abscond.
When contacted on phone, the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abutu Yaro said that such report had not reached his table, adding that he would find out later. 

By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri

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Women Now Drink As Much As Men

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Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol liver disease, heart disease and cancer more quickly than men and even at lower levels of consumption. 
Researchers worry the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could amplify the rise in alcohol and mental health concerns among young women.
For nearly a century, women have been closing the gender gap in alcohol consumption, binge-drinking and alcohol use disorder. What was previously a 3-1 ratio for risky drinking habits in men versus women is closer to 1-to-1 globally, a 2016 analysis of several studies suggested.
And the latest U.S. data from 2019 shows that women in their teens and early 20s reported drinking and getting drunk at higher rates than their male peers in some cases for the first time since researchers began measuring such behavior.
This trend parallels the rise in mental health concerns among young women, and researchers worry the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic could amplify both patterns.
“It’s not only that we’re seeing women drinking more, but that they’re really being affected by this physically and mental health-wise,” said Dawn Sugarman, a research psychologist at McLean Hospital in Massachusetts who has studied addiction in women.
Research shows women suffer health consequences of alcohol liver disease, heart disease and cancer more quickly than men and even at lower levels .
Perhaps most concerning is that the rising gender equality in alcohol use doesn’t extend to the recognition or treatment of alcohol disorders, Sugarman said. So even as some women drink more, they’re often less likely to get the help they need.
Although the gender gap in alcohol consumption is narrowing among all ages, the reasons differ. For people over 26, women are increasing their alcohol consumption faster than men. Among teens and young adults, however, there’s an overall decline in drinking. The decline is simply slower for women.
That may sound like progress, said Aaron White, a senior scientific adviser at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. But it may indicate larger underlying issues.
“We have a real concern that while there might be fewer people drinking, many of those who are drinking might be doing so specifically to try to cope,” White said. “And that is problematic.”
Research suggests that people who drink to cope as opposed to drinking for pleasure have a higher risk of developing alcohol-use disorder. And while every individual’s reasons for drinking are different, studies have found women are more likely to drink to cope than men.
From Kaiser Health.com.

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Woman Sells Two Daughters For N300,000 In Ogun

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A 35-year-old housewife, Blessing Agoro, has been arrested by men of Ogun State Police Command for allegedly selling her two daughters, Semilore Agoro (four), and Deborah Agoro (two).
The suspect was arrested, following a report lodged at Redeemed Camp Divisional Police Headquarters by her husband, Oluwaseyi Agoro.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi disclosed this in a statement, yesterday.
Oyeyemi said the husband reported that when he returned from travelling last Tuesday he couldn’t find his two daughters.
The PPRO said, “The man stated further that all efforts to make his wife tell him the whereabouts of the children proved abortive, hence his report.
“Upon the report, the DPO Redeemed Camp division, CSP Alabi Akinjide, detailed his detectives to apprehend the suspect, who had already been with the camp’s code of conduct department.
“On interrogation, the suspect explained to the police that her husband left home for the past two years, and while he was away, she found it difficult to cater for the two children with her other two children she had for another man.
“She stated further that while she was contemplating on what to do, one Kolawole Imoleayo introduced her to a couple in Port Harcourt who was in need of children. She sold the two daughters to the couple at the rate of N300,000.
“Her confession led to the arrest of the said intermediary, Kolawole Imoleayo. They are both assisting the police in their investigation.”
The Commissioner of Police, Edward Ajogun, has ordered the transfer of the suspects to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCID) for discreet investigation.
Oyeyemi added that Ajogun directed that the children must be rescued and brought back to their parents as soon as possible.

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