A non-governmental organisation, the Ibom Development and Empowerment Assembly, which is engaged in free training of Akwa Ibom youths, said it had intervened in the medical bill crises of some indigent patients at the St. Luke’s General Hospital, Anua, Uyo, by settling their bills amounting to over N2.8m.
It also donated sewing machines, groundnut oil, gallons of palm oil and bags of rice estimated at millions of naira to feed and train the Uyo Prison inmates for them to become useful to the society.
The International Coordinator of the NGO, Dr Markfre Ekefre, stated these at a media briefing on the organisation’s first graduation ceremony.
He said the organisation decided to intervene in the medical bill issue when it discovered that the patients were unable to pay their bills several weeks after they were certified fit by the doctors and discharged from the hospital.
Ekefre stated: “We came up with the Ibom Development and Empowerment Assembly on Saturday, July 1, 2017, and on December 30, 2017, at exactly 60 days, the IDEA brought out N10m to empower youths, women and sick people in the state.
“We bought sewing machines, hair dryers, clippers, computer sets and oven worth over N5m, which we use in training our students.
“The IDEA visited St. Luke’s Hospital and cleared the medical bills for 22 patients, to the tune of N2.8m, who could not pay for a long time after they were discharged from the hospital and donated gallons of groundnut oil, sewing machines and bags of rice to the Uyo Prison to feed and train inmates so that they may be useful to the society.”
He added that the organisation would be graduating 48 students, who had successfully completed their free six months training programme on Saturday and would give them certificates and equipment to help them start their own business ventures.
Ekefre said, “We actually admitted 48 students who came initially; now, 200 students have applied. We trained the students for one year and every student who enrolled for computer training will be given a new computer free of charge and a certificate; every student who enrolled for tailoring will be given a sewing machine and certificate; while those that studied hair dressing will be given clippers and hair dryers as well as certificates.”
The Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), has expressed worries over the proliferation of bills on the floor of the 9th National Assembly for the establishment of regional development agencies.
President, IYC worldwide, Roland Pereotubo Oweilaemi, in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday, questioned the rationale for the establishments of such regional agencies, especially as it concerns their funding.
He maintained that while the IYC was not against the establishment of such regional development agencies, the issue of how the Federal Government would fund them should be of concern to every Nigerian, including the lawmakers.
“With the way and manner the 9th Assembly is introducing these bodies such as North Central Development Commission, North West Development Commission, etc, after the North East Development Commission came on stream through the 8th Assembly, IYC fears that history may want to repeat itself about the funding.
“We believe that these agencies are not going to be funded with oil money from the Niger Delta. The funding of the North East Development Commission is shrouded in secrecy as we believe strongly that it is being funded with oil money. This broad day robbery of our exclusive economic right should not be replicated in the incoming bodies,” he stressed.
He maintained that just as the governors from the South East had made it clear that the South East Development Commission would be jointly funded by them, the governors from the north should also come clear on how they want their regional development agencies to be funded.
He said: “This was how the then Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the chairmanship of General Olusegun Obasanjo exercised legislative powers at the federal level, made the greatest mockery of the Ijaws by promulgating River Basin Development Authorities Decree and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority Decree.
“The former established 10 other River Basin Development Authorities for every river, rivulet, creek and brook in the rest of Nigeria. The latter established the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority.”
Edo Speaker Declares Vacant Seats Of 12 Lawmakers
The Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, on Wednesday, declared vacant the seats of 12 members-elect for deliberately refusing to present their certificates of return to the Clerk of the Assembly for inauguration.
Also during plenary, the seats of Messrs Uyi Ekhosuehi and Henry Okaka, representing Oredo East and Owan East respectively, were declared vacant for allegedly absconding from plenary after the inauguration of the Seventh Assembly on June 17.
According to the speaker, even if the lawmakers-elect come for sitting now, they cannot meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.
The affected members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae, Ovia North-East II; Ugiagbe Dumez, Ovia North-East I; Washington Osifo, Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror, Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi, Etsako East and Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Owan West.
Others are Sunday Aghedo, Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben, Oredo West; Crosby Eribo, Egor; Aliyu Oshiomhole, Etsako West II; Oshomah Ahmed, Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu, Etsako West I.
Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said that the 12 members-elect ‘defiantly refused’ to come forward to do necessary documentation as part of the conditions for their inauguration as members of the Assembly.
He said: “12 out of the 24 members-elect, who completed their screening and documentation process, were inaugurated on June 17, out of whom two have refused to discharge their legislative duties.
“They have refused to represent their constituents in the Assembly, invariably denying them effective representation.
“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant, in accordance with Section 109, subsection 1(F) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” he said.
Okiye consequently called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-elections within 90 days in the affected constituencies.
Police Confirm Burning Of Two Suspected Kidnappers In Bayelsa
The Bayelsa State Police Command on Wednesday confirmed the burning of two suspected kidnappers in Otuagala Community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state by mob.
The suspected criminals were involved in the kidnap of three students of the College of Health and Technology, Otuogidi.
The police spokesman in the state, SP Asinim Butswat, said the two kidnappers were arrested on Tuesday evening.
He said shortly after men of the command arrested the criminals, mob from the community overpowered the security operatives and burned the kidnappers to death.
He said: “Following a tip off, on December 3, at about 1625 hours, a combined team of policemen and the vigilance group, combed Otuagala forest, in Ogbia Local Government Area.
“The team rescued the three students of College of Health and Technology Otuogidi, who were kidnapped by unknown gunmen on the December 2.
“The victims were in good condition. Meanwhile, two kidnappers were arrested and two wooden carved guns that resemble AK 47 Rifles were recovered from them.
“However, angry mob from the community overpowered the security operatives and burned the kidnappers to death,” he said.
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