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Floods: Bayelsa Commences Desilting, Clearing Of Canals

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The Bayelsa State government has commenced the desilting, as well as clearing and opening of canals and creeks within Yenagoa, the state capital and other parts of the state.
This The Tide learnt were done following the government’s quest to mitigate the perenial flash floods experienced in the state.
The Tide further gathered that the state’s Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Iselema Gbaranbiri after robust consultations with stakeholders in the Environment subsector had since directed officials of the Ministry to carry out the exercise, with a view to ameliorating the plights of Bayelsans and residents of the state as the rains continue to threaten unabated.
The Tide which has been monitoring the exercise reports that it kick-started at the popular Osiri road in the Yenagoa metropolis, just as the Environment officers say it would be taken to other parts of the state as the days progresses.
“ We’ve started this exercise in Osiri road, but we’ll move to more areas where the drain flows through Akenfa (3) and (1) as well as Custom Road,in Biogbolo”, the Environment Commissioner said.
The Commissioner assured residents of the State that the Prosperity Administration was committed to ensuring a flood free state capital and called on residents to be patient, noting that the exercise would be extended to all flood prone areas.
It would be recalled that the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment had earlier in January this year, inaugurated a committee to identify blocked canals and drainages, just as he disclosed that the committee had taken stock of affected areas hence, the commencement of clearing in line with the available data.
The Commissioner who was represented by the Head of Flood and Erosion Control Department and Assistant Director in the State Ministry of Environment, Mr. Daniel Tenemeni, advised residents to co-operate with the State Government to ensure a safe, secure and conducive environment for all.
Also speaking, residents in Biogbolo axis of the state capital commended the State Government for the work, adding that it would save them the stress of packing out of their houses and subsequent loss of properties to flood as the rains had already affected them seriously.
The residents expressed optimism that with the ongoing exercise, water would flow out easily, pleading however, with the State Sanitation Authority to enforce cleaning of the environment and prosecution of offenders with a view to ensuring a clean environment, just as they also called on the government to construct proper drainage systems round the State, saying that would enable government appropriate the yearly budget of desilting and clearing blocked canals for other purposes.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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PH Residents Lament As Price Of Cooking Gas Soars

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As the price of cooking gas, otherwise known as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), continues to rise, many households in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, have begun to groan over the situation.
Some of the users of the cooking gas within the Port Harcourt environs told The Tide that the current situation in the country was becoming unbearable. 
Mrs Amuche Ogbonda, a resident of Rumuosi in Akpor, said the continuous increase in the price of cooking gas had forced many households to look for cheaper alternatives.
She said that other options like the use of electric cooker were being exploited, but noted that power outage was also frustrating the use of electric cooker. 
Also lamenting over the high cost of cooking gas, Mr Kennedy Onyikwu, who resides in one of the estates within Rumuokoro area of Port Harcourt, said he was so much concerned about the huge amount of money he now spends on cooking gas.
“Government is not even addressing the matter, and everyday, price keeps going higher and higher, whereas, gas is being flared continuously in this country.
“In fact, I have decided to cut down on the use of gas. In my family, we now use gas only when there is emergency cooking, otherwise, we wait until there is electricity to power our gadget”, he said.
The Tide’s findings show that the price of 12.5kg of LPG which was sold for N7,000 about a week ago, has now increased to between N8,000 and N8,200, amidst various concerns by end users, marketers and producers of the commodity.
Also, 6kg of LPG that was sold for between N2,600 and N2,650 within the same period, now sells for between N3,800 and N4,000.
Of the 1.2 million metric tonnes of the product required by Nigeria, the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited supplies about 450,000MT. This leaves a gap of 750,000MT to be filled by imports.
The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) had said in September that out of the 85,264.80MT of LPG consumed in the country in August, 38,040.46MT was imported.
This means that 55.39 per cent of the LPG consumed in the country in August was imported, while 44.61 per cent was supplied locally.
The PPPRA data showed that 21,606.30MT was imported from the United States, 13,044.266 imported from Algeria, while 12,573.779MT was brought into the country from Equatorial Guinea.
With a good number of the product imported, its landing cost changes with the crisis in the foreign exchange market that has characterised the Nigerian economy in recent times.

By: Corlins Walter

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Charges FG On School Feeding Programme

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The Bayelsa State Government has called on the Federal Government to expedite action on the implementation of the National Home Grown Feeding programme in the state.
The State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, made the call when he received a delegation from the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in Government House, Yenagoa.
Governor Diri, who expressed reservations that Bayelsa was the last state to be given the opportunity to key into the national school feeding project among the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, faulted the Federal Government for the delay.
The Governor, who spoke through his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said the prolonged delay in the take-off of the project in the state might not be unconnected with unnecessary politics and lack of openness at the federal level.
The Governor, however, noted that the state government was prepared to partner the level and give it all necessary support for the smooth take-off and implementation of the program in the state.
Describing the free school feeding programme as pivotal to the health and learning behavior of pupils in schools, Governor Diri said no hungry child could concentrate and learn effectively at school.
He noted that Nigeria currently has the highest number of children suffering from malnutrition, adding that the free school feeding initiative would go a long way to address malnutrition among the pupils.
The Governor, therefore, called on the Federal Government to expand the free school feeding program to cover all the classes in the primary school, as against feeding only pupils in primary 1 to 3.
His words: “A programme like the free school feeding one is aimed at strengthening the health of our children, to give them the required nutrients and supplements to make them be in a position to learn effectively.
“A child who comes to school with a lot of frustration and hunger cannot be in a position to acquire knowledge and skills.
“This programme is aimed at solving two problems at the same time. Improving our health indicators through well-fed children and also to motivate them to be in school. Sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, has the highest level of malnutrition among children.
“This is why this government programme needs to be supported; alll hands must be on deck. And so, we are happy that you are here for this project.
“However, we are not happy that Bayelsa is made the last state to key into the project. We believe substantially that this is not due to our fault as a state government. It is a result of some politics and lack of openness.
“But I can assure that the Bayelsa State Government is ready for the programme. We will do everything that is required of us, to ensure that the programme gets underway in the state as soon as possible”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the representative of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Abuja, Mrs. Maimuna Idris, said they were in the state to liaise with the state government and provide technical support for the National Home Grown School Feeding Project to kick-off.
Mrs Idris who is Special Adviser to the Federal Minister of Humanitarian Affairs on legal matters, said the school feeding project was one of the four projects currently being implemented under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) of the Federal Government.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Edo Tasks Farmers On Food Production

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The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Edo State held a food exhibition to mark World Food Day on Monday.
The theme of this year’s celebration is “Our Actions Are Our Future: Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and better life”.
Farmers from the 18 local government areas of the state converged on the premises of the state ministry of agriculture to display their farm produce.
The exhibition had in attendance farmers from diverse food value chain such as plantain, yam, rice, cocoa, garri, oil palm, pineapple, poultry products, fish, honey, among others.
Speaking during the event, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Peter Aikhuomobhogbe, said the event was organised to focus attention on Agriculture and food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, and non-governmental efforts.
Aikhuomobhogbe stated that the event was also to encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the underprivileged in decisions and activities that influence their lives.
‘The amount and quality of food produced in a food system, the availability of that food, and its price affect the types and qualities of food people eat, as well as the variety and nutritional quality of their diets.
‘If food systems worked well in providing consumers with diverse, nutritious, and affordable diets, people could procure their food in the market, regardless of their own agricultural productivity.
‘But among poor households in Edo State and Nigeria at large, this is not the case, the rate of food insecurity and malnutrition in these areas is severe,’ he said.
According to him, the state government has put in place an agricultural entrepreneurship (Agripreneur) Programme that is expected to create 30,000 jobs
The Chairperson of the National Coconut Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria (NACOPPMAN), Ambassador, Tracy Agol commended the ministry for the event.
‘The food exhibition held today is commendable. It brought together agricultural producers and products from the 18 local areas of the state,’ Agol said.
‘If we continue like this, it means that food will be sufficient for the people.’
She called on government at all levels to help tackle insecurity in the state to enable farmers to access their farms without fear of being killed or kidnapped.
In her words, we do not have food in abundance like it used to be because of insecurity. The few farm produce that are available are very expensive.
The coordinator of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Edo North, Alhaji Momodu Oshiobughie thanked the state government for the various agricultural interventions in the state.

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