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Independence: CSOs To Engage 60 Youths To Write Essays On Nigeria’s Circumstances

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African Centre for Media and Information Literacy in partnership with Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, TechHer and some media organisations, says it will engage young Nigerians to produce 60 essays dwelling on how to make the country great.
The coordinator of the centre Dr Chido Onumah, said this at a news conference, yesterday in Abuja.
He said that the aim of the project was to produce a book of 60 essays entitled “60 years of 60 voices –Essays on Nigeria at 60’’.
Onumah, who listed the media partners as Sahara Reporters, Oak TV and Premium Times Books said the project was part of the group’s activities to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence.
He said the group involved young Nigerians because they were the critical change agents to help the country understand and sharpen its focus on those issues that held the key to its collective survival as a people.
He said that Nigeria was faced with a lot of challenges ranging from leadership issues, insecurity, out-of-school children, poverty and economy among others.
Onumah added that these issues and more were what would be addressed in the proposed book.
“These essays on Nigeria will examine Nigeria’s social economic and political situation and explore the options open to us, suggest solutions and how to actualize them.
“The essays will take a critical look at the country’s democratic experiment since independence in 1960, where the country is today and some of the major issues that have dogged the country’s march to genuine democracy and nationhood.
“The idea is to generate enough public conversation that can push for and bring about the desired change in the country,” he said.
Onumah said that the essays would also focus on different aspects of the national life, including whether the “fundamental question of nation building that began six decades ago has been fully and or properly answered.’’
He said that the essays would further reveal the lessons learnt or needed to be learnt as a nation 60 years after independence.
He added that the book hoped to document the failures, success and the way out of the cul-de-sac Nigeria found itself.
Onumah said that part of the idea behind the book was to get young Nigerians who ventilate their frustrations and solutions daily on social media to articulate their ideas.
He added it would also enable them to articulate solutions in a compendium that would be used for social and political mobilisation.
He said contributors would be post civil war youths across the nation not more than 50 years old with progressive ideas about building a united society to rekindle hope and bring the country out of its situation.
He said that the new decade would be a defining moment for Nigeria which would be 60 years after independence and 50 years after the civil war.
Onumah said it was important that a new generation of citizens was challenged to reposition the country.
“It is our expectation that the essays in the book would analyse the realities in the socio-economic, political and cultural life of the country since independence.
“It will also answer questions on why Nigeria remains a giant with clay feet despite the availability of abundant human and mineral resources envied by others,” Onumah said.
Ms Safiya Bichi, Head of Research, YIAGA Africa, said that the project raised awareness of Nigeria among youths who seemed disconnected from the history of the nation and challenge them to work towards the future of the nation.
Bichi said that the project would also help the government in planning and raise youths with patriotic spirit that would help lead the nation on the path of growth and development.

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Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.

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With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.

The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″  according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.

The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi  Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.

” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the  Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.

“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.

” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.

He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.

In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.

The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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COVID-19: Dep Speaker Empowers PPE Producers, Underprivileged In Ahoada East LGA …Ready To Partner UNICEF

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The Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edison Ehie, has stated that his office has contributed to ensuring that the impact of the hardship warranted by effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is lessoned in Ahoada East Local Government Area (LGA).
Ehie, who was speaking to the RCCE Media Team, stated that the measures taken to achieve this came in two-fold: providing necessary finance to producers of Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE) in the area to enable them mass produce, and buying same off them to give to people in the grassroots.
The other measure, he said, was the provision of financial Palliatives to the tune of #5,000 each to identified underprivileged in the LGA. This include the elderly, pregnant women, widows and widowers, and generally the vulnerable.
According to Ehie, towards this end, about #5 million has been expended so far in the first phase, while preparation is being made for the next phase to commence.
The Deputy Speaker explained that his decision to empower people who already have the expertise to produce the PPEs was necessitated by the need to provide the finance for them to mass produce their products, and to provide the products to those who need them.
“So, we give you (them) the  finance to produce hand sanitizers, face masks, etc., then we buy them from you (them) to make sure you (they) profit, then we supply (the products) to the people at the grassroots”, he said.
He also stated his preparedness to partner with UNICEF in any way required to ensure the safety of lives of Rivers people.
Ehie revealed that in addition to what is being done, his office is also preparing for the challenges of post COVID-19 among the people of his constituency.
“We’ve started brainstorming on how we can also support the people as regards the post COVID-19 era. That is going to be another very challenging period for our people because when the pandemic gradually phases out, that’s when the reality of hardship will come on.
“We’re trying to put our heads together to see how we can intervene again at that stage”, he said.
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CROSIEC Deploys About 8,000 Personnel For LG Elections

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Ahead of the next Saturday’s rescheduled Local Government elections in Cross River, about 8000 personnel are said to have been deployed across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, who disclosed this in Calabar while
speaking on preparations by the commission, said they are ready for the elections and one hundred percent compliant with post COVID-19
elections guidelines recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the National Centre for Diseases
Control.
He said: “Eight thousand personnel have been mobilised to cover the two thousand, two hundred and twenty-six polling units in the state.
There will be three personnel per pooling unit, five at the accreditation centres, five at the local government and ward coalition centres.
“Accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously and  in line with INEC guidelines, there will be two levels of queuing  and voters
will vote in batches while maintaining social distance.
“We had to make sure that we are on course and lives are protected. Luckily INEC released the procedure for post COVID-19 elections and I
must say that we are in full compliance with it. INEC said we have to provide hand sanitizers, face masks and we have adopted all the
procedures one hundred percent.
“ We have gone beyond INEC  and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, a good number of face masks  and
we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
He added that the commission has given sufficient notice for the elections and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in Saturday’s elections.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar.
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