Catholic Bishops of Lagos Ecclesiastical Province say the Federal Government’s proposal to establish cattle colonies in all states of the federation is simply not an acceptable solution to the problem of killer herdsmen.
The province comprises the Archdiocese of Lagos and the Dioceses of Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta.
The Catholic Bishops stated this, last Saturday, when they rose from their first plenary meeting for the year 2018.
During the meeting held at the McGovern Hall of St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos State, the bishops also asked the government to quickly prosecute all those who were in one way or the other implicated in the deadly attacks of Fulani herdsmen.
A communique issued at the end bishops’ meeting read in parts: “We join the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria to commiserate with the families and relations of fellow Nigerians who lost their lives recently in Benue, Adamawa Taraba states and Southern Kaduna as a result of deadly attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
“We also sympathise with our Christian brothers and sisters in those states who, over time, have been subjected to series of unwarranted attacks, persecution and provocation by herdsmen and other similar arms-wielding groups because of their faith.
“We condemn these senseless and arbitrary killings which in recent times leave one with the impression that there is more to it than the acquisition of land for the purpose of cattle grazing.
“We take serious exception to the provocative comments recently attributed to a university don of Fulani extraction to the effect that the people of Benue are a conquered people who have no rights to the land which they presently occupy.
“In the same vein, we reject the proposed move by the Federal Government to establish cattle colonies across the various states of the federation as a way of finding a lasting solution to the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
“Such a move is not only capable of further exacerbating an already tensed atmosphere, but also leave one with the impression that the much-touted Islamisation agenda of Nigeria is an ongoing project that may have tacitly received the approval of Mr. President.”
Also, foremost Niger Delta activist, Ankio Briggs has vehemently rejected the proposed creation of cattle colonies by the Federal Government.
Briggs said the people of the Niger Delta will be mobilised against the Federal Government, if it goes ahead with the establishment of cattle colonies in the region.
She said people of the Niger Delta were yet to recover from the exploitation they already suffered from the Federal Government, adding that creating colonies for herders will be provocative.
Briggs, however, advised the Federal Government to encourage herdsmen across the country to seek other means of managing their business.
“The sound of cattle colonies in itself is provocative. What is the meaning of cattle colonies?
“There is nothing that should be given to any business man, whether he is herdsman or a Fulani man. How many fishermen do you see going to the North to go and claim rivers?
“The herdsmen own private businesses. We will not allow them in the Niger Delta. That is all I can say for now,” Briggs said.
CAC Registers 245,000 SMEs Free Of Charge
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.
IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal
The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss, expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.
1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta
No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.
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