The Ekuri Community of Cross River State has accused the state government of deliberately seeking to destroy 20,000 hectre of its 33,600 hectre age-long community forest through logging for the proposed super highway construction, and has therefore written to President Muhammadu Buhari to step in and stop the depletion.
In a letter made available to newsmen in Calabar dated 4th May, 2021 and signed by 24 chiefs and elders of the community, including Chief Chief Abel Egbe, clan head of Ekuri clan and Chief Edwin Ogar, village head, Ubiofor, the community said government has already leased out the said forest to Sibawood Industry & Agriculture Nigeria to log timber and that the said company has already deployed bulldozers to deplete their prized forest.
The letter read in part: “We thank you Mr. President that when the threats from the superhighway project in 2016 threatened Ekuri community forest and our existence, you came to our rescue that the superhighway be detoured from Ekuri forest. This you did because of the richness and iconic status of this forest which also contributes in meeting Nigeria’s commitments to international environmental agreements.
“We wish to inform you that the threats to Ekuri community forest are not over as another superhighway specifically aimed at logging Ekuri community forest has been approved by the government of Cross River State through the Cross-River State Forestry Commission (CRSFC).
“Mr. President Sir, it is sad to inform you that the government of Cross River State through the Forestry Commission headed by High Chief Tony Undiandeye, has completed the re-validation of the 20,000ha illegal lease of Ekuri forest to Sibawood Industry& Agriculture Nig. Ltd to log against extant injunction and other government policies which the Commission is supposed to enforce but rather has abused them.
“Consequently, Sibawood have deployed bulldozers and commenced the construction of Iyamitet- New Ekuri road and have begun marking hundreds of trees in Ekuri forest for logging, threatening livelihoods, ecosystem services and mitigation of climate which this forest has been contributing to the wellbeing of Ekuri, Nigeria and the world at large.”
“Mr. President Sir, our humble prayer is to use your good office to stop this illegal revalidation of an illegal lease and end the current logging onslaught to destroy the famous Ekuri community forest which has promoted Nigeria’s image globally in terms of conservation, indigenous people’s involvement, livelihoods and climate change mitigation.
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
NYSC Tasks Corps Members On Security
The 1, 685 corps members deployed to Akwa Ibom State for the one-year national service have been charged to be security conscious and adhere strictly to camp rules and regulations.
Director-General of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Fadah, gave the advice during the swearing-in ceremony of 2022 Batch ‘B’, Stream 1 corps members at NYSC Orientation camp, Ikot Itie Udung, Nsit Atai Local Government Area.
Fadah, who was represented by the State Coordinator, Mrs Chinyere Ekwe, cautioned corps members against promoting hatred on social media.
He admonished them to demonstrate a high level of discipline, adding that, “the regimented nature of the camp was intended to instill discipline and build resilience.
“White-collar jobs are no longer available and you should embrace the Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), to be self-reliant.
“You are strongly advised to be security conscious at all times and to report any suspicious character or activities around you to the appropriate authorities.
“I implore you to sustain the high level of discipline and enthusiasm you have demonstrated so far, especially by remaining compliant with the camp rules and regulations.”
The director-general urged the corps members to continue to distance themselves from cultism, drug abuse and other social vices.
“I also urge you to avoid using social media for spreading fake news, fueling hatred and other negative purposes.
“Instead, you should deploy the same for the promotion of national unity and development.
“Therefore, I encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunities for self-employment offered through SAED.
“You are expected to choose from any of the skills areas, and make yourselves available for the training, which starts from the orientation camp.
“On our part, management will continue to work with relevant stakeholders for the success of the programme,” Fadah said.
He enjoined corps members to avail themselves of the once-in-a-life-time opportunity by participating actively in all camp activities.
The Director-General appealed for the support of all stakeholders in the call for the establishment of NYSC Trust Fund, which has reached an advanced stage of legislation.
He expressed appreciation for the support of the federal, state, and local governments, as well as security agencies, traditional rulers and other stakeholders for supporting the scheme.
The Tide’s source reports that the highpoint of the event was the administration of the oath of allegiance on the corps members by the Akwa Ibom Chief Judge, Justice Ekaette Obot, who was represented by Justice Gabriel Ette.
NDLEA Seizes Illicit Drugs, Arrests 68 Suspects In Bayelsa Community
The Bayelsa State Command of the National Drug Law Enforcement agency (NDLEA) says it has arrested 68 persons suspected to have engaged in sale and addiction to illicit drugs in the state.
The Tide learnt this during a press briefing held by the state command of the agency in Yenagoa, the state capital as part of activities commemorating the 2022 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking which holds officially on Sunday, 26th, June.
In his briefing, the state commander of the NDLEA, Mr Ali Aminu stated that meeting with the press became necessary as according to him, the media serves as a platform to educate as well as enlighten the general public, especially the vulnerable groups on the menace of illicit drug abuse and trafficking.
Ali, who also noted that from the 68 Suspects arrested, the command has successfully convicted eight persons, reiterated the command’s resolve towards getting the state rid-of illegal drugs, reassuring that following the command’s resilience, no fewer than 34.526kg and 630ml of various classes of illicit drugs and substances have also been seized by the command between January and June this year.
He hinted that from January to June, 2022, through constant intelligence-led raids on black spots and on identified drug dealers as well as through continuous patrol operations, the command arrested 57 males and 11 females illicit drug suspects, making it a total of 68 persons so far arrested by the command in the year.
He said while one hectare of cannabis farm was discovered in Oruama (Yiba-ama) Community of the Ogbia Council Area of the state in March, the drug demand reduction unit of the command he stated, has also been assiduously discharging its functions.
The state’s NDLEA helmsman noted that the drug demand reduction unit between January and June,2022 admitted a total of 13 clients, 5 out of the 13 he said, have been successfully treated and discharged, while eight were still undergoing treatment and rehabilitation, revealing also that the unit has successfully counselled a total of 52 arrested persons with a breakdown of males and eight females, respectively.
Ali commended the Chairman/Chief executive officer of the agency, Brig. General Buba Marwa(rtd) for repositioning the agency, saying the chief executive of the agency has brought in a new zeal into the personnel of the agency which has made them rededicated themselves to fighting the scourge of illicit drug abuse and trafficking in the country.
“The national drug law enforcement agency is the lead agency in the war against illicit substance abuse and trafficking. However, the agency cannot win this war alone.
“It’s up to all and sundry, individuals, state governments, NGOs, Schools and religious bodies. Our Sister security agencies and the press too are needed to enable us raise awareness and share information on the cancerous menace of the spectre of illicit substance abuse and trafficking to our persons, immediate environment and nation.
“ It is usually said, ‘if you’re not infected, you’re affected’ “, the NDLEA commander said.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Edo Trains Herbalists On Hygiene, Modern Skills
The Edo State Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues has begun a training for members of the Association of Lunatic Healers in the state.
The Tide’s source reports that the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mrs Barbara Osobajo, who declared the training open in Benin, said the participants would be trained on personal and environmental hygiene as well as modern skills for care.
Noting that the Ministry was committed and firmly focused on enhancing the capacity of herbal practitioners, she commended the herbal healers for their passion in the treatment and rehabilitation of persons living with mental illness.
The Permanent Secretary, represented by Mr Sylvester Okeguale, the Director, Rehabilitation Services Department, assured the associaiton of the State Government’s continuous support.
She urged the members to adhere to proper personal hygiene and clean working environment.
In a remark, the State Chairman of the association, Dr Samuel Oghaimeh, expressed gratitude to the Ministry for the training.
Oghaimeh said it would enrich them with contemporary knowledge to improve their practices.
The source reports that the training was facilitated by Mrs Agho Taiwo, Head, Social Welfare Unit, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Uselu, and Mrs Felicia Igbinovia, the Social Welfare Officer, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital.
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