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