The Executive Director, Fostering Achievement for Community Empowerment (FACE), Mr Inatimi Odio, has called on Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Niger Delta region to build capacity for community groups to strengthen their advocacy skills.
Odio, who spoke to The Tide recently in Port Harcourt, during a one day stakeholders’ Advocacy Capacity Building on the Ogoni Cleanup, stated that the programme aims at ensuring stakeholders are able to air their concerns and challenges on the Ogoni Clean up process so that those concerned can be responded to in a positive way.
He stressed that wrong approach to lobbying and advocating was responsible for lack of good result, noting that advocacy is a process and not a spring race, but maranthon, hence different strategies must be employed in order to make advocacy successful. According to him, “the practice of lobbying and advocating ought to be done in a more structured manner that will produce maximum result expected by those concerned.”
Odio emphasised that other NGOs were really not building the advocacy capacity of community groups, but rather advocate on behalf of communities, thereby playing down on the people’s power that they would have utilised to engage different stakeholders to achieve their objectives.
“Many times NGOs advocate on behalf of communities, thereby disempowering them.
“So my message to other CSOs, NGOs is that capacity should be built among stakeholders in different communities so that they can engage actively in the process.
“This way, both the communities, CSOs, and NGOs can collaborate with government agencies including the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP) to ensure that the clean -up exercise process is effectively implemented,” Odio said.
The FACE Executive Director noted that the training will build stakeholders, capacity on advocacy strategies that will guide the communities to engage the other stakeholders involved in the clean-up to ensure it is fast-tracked and effectively done.
Speaking also, a member of the Coalition of Civil Society on Environmental Sustainability (CISOC), Mr Sunny Zorvah stated that investigation shows that impacted communities do not have capacity in terms of asking for what they want, and do not understand the issues surrounding the Ogoni Cleanup. Zorvah stressed that the event is aimed at building the capacity of these communities to enable them advocate peacefully so it does not stop the exercise, but to pass the message on to HYPREP.
He noted that HYPREP benefits the more if these communities are calm, hence the need for them to operate an open policy that would clear every doubt, adding that the people of the community need to undestand that there is a window open for them to ventilate their opinions and challenges to make proper use of it in ensur
Delta Begins Rehabilitation Of Asaba -Onitsha Expressway
The Delta State Government has commenced intervention work on the failed portions of the Asaba-Onitsha end of the Benin-Onitsha Expressway, The Tide’s source reports.
The state Commissioner for Works, Chief James Augoye and his Information counterpart, Mr Charles Aniagwu, who inspected the project on Wednesday, expressed satisfaction with the progress of work.
Mr Tarek Maroun, the site contractor, Levant Construction Limited said that they began work on the 1.5 kilometer portion on Sept. 11 and hoped to complete it in one month, depending on the level of rainfall.
Aguoye said that a similar intervention was also going on at the failed portion at Ubulu-Okiti Junction on the expressway, measuring 300 meters.
He said: “Here at the Asaba bridge head, we are doing 150 meters (1.5km), the scope of work here involves the excavation of materials and filling with sharp sand.
The source reports that the deplorable state of the road posed serious nightmare to road users.
The development had forced transport fares up to as much as N1,000 between Asaba and Onitsha, especially during critical hours of the day.
The commissioners’ team also inspected the ongoing intervention at Okuovu on the Benin-Sapele-Warri federal highway.
The Site Engineer of Obakpor J.U Construction, Mr Justin Nwoko described the work as tedious but promised that it would be delivered in record time.
“This work will be handled professionally and delivered on time. We have been here for one week now, the terrain is marshy and because of the downpour it is giving us some challenge.
“However, we appeal to the people to bear with us. The job could have been done by the federal government but the Delta government is intervening to make it easier for road users,’’ Obakpor said.
The commissioner for works also appealed to motorists, who ply the route, to be patient with the contractor.
VC Backs Buhari’s Anti-Corruption War …Vows To Rid Varsity Of Graft
The Vice Chancellor VC of the University of Calabar, Prof. Zana Akpagu has stated his administration’s commitment and support for President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption war.
Akpagu said this during a one- day workshop with the theme:
“Eliminating Corrupt Practices and Enforcing Ethics and Integrity” organised by the institution’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ATU) held in the main auditorium of the university Senate Chambers.
Declaring the workshop open, the Vice Chancellor, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Lucy Udida said the theme was very apt and timely, adding that corruption is counterproductive and capable of destroying the university system, hence the need for collaborative efforts to eliminate the menace.
He said his administration would not rest on its oars but will ensure that corrupt practices are eliminated from the institution, which he said, would help in the achievement of set goals and objectives.
The immediate past Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, in his paper presentation titled “Instituting and Endorsing Viable Structures for Ethics and Integrity to thrive in the University System”, stated that institutional integrity cannot be achieved without personal integrity.
According to him, when an organisation or country is lacking ethical values integrity, individuals in such organisations may be seen to be corrupt; adding that unethical behaviour cannot thrive where there is a clearly defined code of conduct.
While stating that individual unethical behaviour is the reason for establishing ACTU and Servicom, he mentioned ways to fix ethical deficits to include reviewing UNICAL codes of conduct and ethics while infusing relevant provisions of the ICPC Act and encouraging departments to review same.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Our Road Safety Operations, Not Punitive – FRSC Official
Assistant Route Commander, Esuku Ikpi of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Cross River State Command, yesterday declared that the activities of the agency were not punitive but correctional.
Ikpi made the statement in an interview with The Tide’s source Calabar.
He said the essence of the operations of FRSC was for the general well-being of Nigerians and not essentially to raise revenue or scare road users.
He said defaulters who were arrested were fined because if people were allowed to do what they liked, there would be total anarchy on the roads.
”We are on the roads to enlighten people but we are also aware that public enlightenment without enforcement will amount to entertainment and our officers are not entertainers, so we appeal to motorists to do the right thing.
”There are three factors involved in traffic crashes, the human factor, the environmental factor and the mechanical factor.
”So, drivers should ensure that their vehicles are in order, obey traffic regulations and drive within the stipulated speed limits of any roads.
”Drivers must ensure that they desist from unsafe attitudes such as the use of phones while driving, alcohol and drugs intake and should always wear their seat belts because road crashes are preventable if drivers adhere to safety rules,” he said.
Ikpi, who is also a public enlightenment officer for the command added that soon the corps would launch its “ember” months safe driving campaign where officers would be mobilised to work round the clock to effectively patrol the roads during the “ember” months.
”During the “ember” months, we would work for 24 hours.
”Apart from the patrol teams that close by 6p.m., we would have a standby rescue team that would work round the clock due to the impatience associated with the period.
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