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Niger Delta

Safe Motherhood: Dickson Is Trail Blazer – Okowa

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Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, last Wednesday was full of commendation for his Bayelsa State counterpart, Hon Henry Seriake Dickson, whom he said has set very high marks in governance, worthy of emulation by other governors. He spoke as the special guest of honour at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa during the formal launch of the Bayelsa Safe Motherhood Scheme and commencement of payment of monthly stipends to over 1000 pregnant women in line with the state government’s determination to reduce the incidence of maternal and infant mortality. A press release by the Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted Governor Dickson as urging pregnant women in the state to register at the nearest healthcare provider and regularly attend antenatal services to enable them benefit from the scheme.
The governor said the scheme would outlive his administration as appropriate measures such as the Health Insurance Scheme and medical health facilities had been provided across the 105 wards in the state to cater to the needs of people in the hinterlands.
In their separate remarks, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa and a former Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Taminu Turaki (SAN), described Governor Dickson as a trail blazer in the health sector as he was the first to initiate and implement the Safe Motherhood Scheme in the country.
Flagging of the programme, Dr. Okowa applauded his Bayelsa counterpart for recognising the place of mothers in society, stressing that paying special attention to women would go a long way to building a healthy family and nation. While encouraging mothers to take advantage of the initiative, he however cautioned them on the need to imbibe the practice of birth spacing for the sake of their health and general wellbeing of the family.
On his part, Alhaji Turaki, who is a former presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party, noted that besides building institutions and physical infrastructure, Dickson had also demonstrated passion for people-oriented programmes such as the Safe Motherhood Scheme.

By: Austin Pade, Yenagoa.

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Niger Delta

Diri Dismisses PIA As Evil, Oppressive

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) as evil and oppressive to people of the Niger Delta.
Governor Diri maintained that the three per cent allotted to host communities in the Act was paltry and would continue to be opposed until justice was served.
The Bayelsa governor stated this at a special thanksgiving service of his Special Adviser on Special Duties and Director of Transport, Government House, Mr. Lucky Yobougha, at the El-Shaddai Ministries International in Yenagoa.
Diri said the passage of the bill was a slap on the face of the Ijaws and Niger Delta people, especially against the backdrop of the 30 percent allotted for frontier exploration in basins that were more in the northern part of the country.
Diri stressed that the law was “ill-conceived, dehumanising and unacceptable” to the Niger Delta people and asked that it be repealed and amended.
He aligned himself with the walkout staged by aggrieved Senators during its passage, stating that the action had its place in history.
“Now it is incumbent on us as citizens of this state and particularly of host communities to rise up against this ill-conceived, oppressive and dehumanising law that it is not acceptable to us.
“A lot of ignorant people were against the former governor of Bayelsa State, who rose and championed a walkout in the Senate. But that is what a true son of Ijawland should do.
“You cannot be part of a decision that dehumanises and takes away the riches of your people. That is one of the weapons we use as minority against the so-called majority in the National Assembly”, he said.
The governor also called for unification of the Ijaws that he said have been deliberately balkanised into five other states in the country apart from Bayelsa, stating that it is a ploy to distress the Ijaw people.
Diri promised to stand for actualisation of the creation of two additional states for the Ijaw ethnic group, namely the Oil Rivers and Toru-Ibe states.
Earlier in his sermon, Archbishop Ugon-Owaji Ile of El-Shaddai Ministries International stated that God was in search of a man that would build the economy and enrich the people of Bayelsa like Nehemiah in the Bible.
Archbishop Ile described Bayelsa as one of the richest states in Nigeria but yet to be harnessed due to lack of foresight and prayed God to lead Governor Diri aright to achieve his Prosperity Agenda for Bayelsans.
In his remarks, Mr. Lucky Yobougha noted that the thanksgiving was necessitated by God’s revelation to him about Diri’s miraculous victory and was in fulfillment of his pledge to God.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Ayade Assures On Massive Rice Production

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The Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade says he will convert the entire state into rice farmers, and that the formal commissioning of the Cross River State-owned 10-tonne per hour ultra-modern rice mill located in Ogoja Local Government Area would be performed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Governor made this known during the test run of the factory where he thanked the contractors for what he described as their diligent commitment to the project.
“The mill is the first of its kind in Africa and I am particularly proud that we have this outstanding world-class vitaminised rice mill in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State,” he said.
Ayade also said the establishment of the rice mill in Ogoja had the potential to make millionaires out of the young farmers from the area.
“I look forward to converting the entire people of the state into rice farmers. This is because the storage capacity alone is about 6,500 tonnes and on continuous production, we have a storage capacity of 240 tonnes per day, at 24 hours operation.
“So if we have 240 tonnes per day, it, therefore, means that even if we are to convert the whole land in Cross River State for rice farming, this factory has the capacity to take all.
“The issue of poverty will come to an end. But you need an aggregate vote that will be made available to farmers to be able to buy, carry and deliver to this factory. So for every local government, we are going to have a supplier to this farm.
“We have a grading system to assess the quality of grain. The Cross River rice seedling factory will supply seedlings to the farmers so we could have consistent quality of grains. We will have people who will buy off the paddy from the farmers.
“We are also going to introduce the Anchor Borrowers programme where key stakeholders will be given funds by the state government and perhaps the federal government to assist them to do large-scale industrial farming like myself,” he said.
Describing operations at the mill, Ayade said, “I have just watched the test operation and it is fully operational. The dream of having the Ogoja rice mill has come to birth today. We have just had a full test run, a pre-commissioning test run from the point of receiving the paddy from the pad, through the pre-cleaning to parboiling stage to the preserving, where it does the destining, taking out the outer shell to the whitener and from where it goes further down the system to absorb the grading and making sure that the grain size is uniform and finally to the bagging line.”
He said the rice also goes through the vitaminisation plant, which process has been tested at the pre-commissioning stage and is fully functional and operational.
On how the factories will be run to ensure their survival, Ayade said, “We are discussing at different levels, just as we have put in place a privatisation council. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, a government finishes a project and it is making it available to the citizens of the state.”

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Niger Delta

Association To Partner Bayelsa On Tourism Dev

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Association of Tourism, Travel Agents & Hospitality Business Owners of Nigeria (ATTAHBON) says it would collaborate with Bayelsa State Government on tourism development
The National President ATTAHBON, Anrinle Ahmed Adekunle, said his organisation was interested in collaborating with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Tourism to develop Bayelsa State tourism brand.
“We shall be fully supporting you to advance the tourism potential of Bayelsa state. Also, after our return from Paris October 12th, we shall be paying a courtesy visit to Bayelsa State. Congratulations our comrade”, Adekunle said during a chat with Piriye Kiyaramo, SSA on Tourism.
Earlier, a member of the board of Trustees of the body, Netufo Ranti had commended Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri for his proactive approach to governance, informing that Bayelsa State has so much to offer in terms of cultural heritage.
Kiyaramo thanked the body for showing such interest in Bayelsa State tourism, just as he assured the organisation of the willingness of the governor to collaborate with well meaning individuals and organisations to develop the tourism sector.

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