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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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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Deputy Gov Advises Communities On Resolution Of Land Disputes

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Communities locked in protracted land and boundary disputes in Bayelsa State have been advised not to resort to armed violence, but rather seek resolution of such matters through the court of law or alternative dispute settlement mechanism.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the advice at a meeting with community leaders from Ondewari and Korokorosei in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, stressed the need for the people of both communities to maintain the peace and abide by existing court judgements over disputed land property in the area, pointing out that the era of rule by might or physical strength has since been taken over by that of rule of law and therefore, cautioned the people to be circumspect in all their dealings to avoid the wrath of the law.
The Deputy Governor maintained that since judgement had been given over the land in dispute, any party that was not satisfied with the judgement should go for appeal and not seek self-help.
Throwing light on the position of government, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the present administration would not take it lightly with any community that takes up arms against another in the state for any reason.
On the deployment of mobile policemen to Ondewari and Korokorosei, the Bayelsa number two man explained that the security agencies were sent to forestall breakdown of law and order in the area, following the court judgement.
He urged the Commissioner of Police, Mr Benjamin Okolo, to ensure the continued operations of police personnel in the two communities until normalcy was fully restored.
Also speaking, the Member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 4 in the state House of Assembly, Hon. MacDonald Igbadiwe, stressed that Ondewari and Korokorosei were brothers and had maintained friendly relationship over the years.
Igbadiwe who thanked the present administration for its genuine concern to foster peace and development in the state, called on the two communities to embrace and live in peace as members of the Olodiama clan.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Southern Ijaw LGA, Chief Kia Ebidoughebofa Nigeria, highlighted the dire consequences of violence, stressing that “There is no positive reward for unnecessary violence and bloodshed.”
The meeting was attended by the paramount rulers, Community Development Committee, CDC chairmen, youth and women leaders of the two communities.
In a related development, the State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has spelt it out clearly that no individual or group would be allowed to dethrone any recognized traditional ruler without the approval of government.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo stated this during a reconciliatory meeting with stakeholders of Anyama-Ebeni Community in Sagbama LGA, including the Deputy Leader of the state House of Assembly, Honourable Benard Kenebai, in Government House,Yenagoa.
Stressing the need for people not to take the laws into their hands, the Deputy Governor ordered a factional leader and CDC Chairman of the community to apologise to the Paramount Ruler of Anyama-Ebeni for manhandling and attempting to dethrone the Amananaowei.

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Niger Delta

C’River Disabilities Commission Bill Passes Second Reading

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The Cross River State Disabilities Affairs Commission Bill 2021, has passed the second reading on the floor of the state House of Assembly.
The commission bill seeks to safeguard people with disabilities against all forms of discrimination, while providing them with equal opportunities in all aspects of human endeavour.
Explaining the context and objectives of the bill, the sponsor, Mrs Regina Anyogo, representing Yala 1, said, “the Bill will promote multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary collaborations, that benefit persons with disabilities and encourage networking among the civil society organisations.
“The Bill will also implement and promote policies that encourage persons with disabilities to participate in the social, economic and political life of the society,” she said.

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Niger Delta

NDDC Operating Against The Law, States Losing – Okowa

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Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has stated that Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was operating against the law to the displeasure and detriment of member states for over two years running.
The governor frowned at the unacceptable situation and urged the federal government to constitute a substantive board for the commission without further delay.
Okowa, who stated this at a media interaction in Asaba, said the slow pace of the presidency to constitute the NDDC board was detrimental to the development of the South-South region.
Recalling that the governors of the NDDC states have vehemently made their position known, during the intervening period that the commission has been without a board, he said: “Whatever situation the NDDC is operating with now is unknown to the law of this country.
“We have made our position clear as South-South governors. We have spoken about how we feel and it is very unfortunate that where we are at the moment, it ought not to be so. We have not had a proper board for over two years now and that is not right.
“The more important thing is that states are now being deprived of opportunity of having their representative at the board because, behind the managing director and the executive, you have state representatives who are able to understand that the budget of the NDDC is run in the way it ought to be run, with what is due to each state, getting to them.
“That has not been the sit-uation for quite some time. That is why we have always complained. We were told by the presidency that as soon as the forensic report was submitted, the board will be inaugurated.”
Okowa decried that the NDDC has been regulated on irregularities, lamenting that states have been deprived of their statutory representation due to the inability of the presidency to constitute a board to run the affairs of the commission.
On Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village, he said the project would be ready for inauguration in February, 2022, adding that the delivery timeline for the project was shifted from December 2021 to February 2022 because of fluctuations in exchange rate.
He said many of the equipment required for the leisure park and film village were coming from overseas, and fluctuations in foreign exchange rate have obviously delayed the delivery of the job.
He disclosed that his administration was still pushing hard on the contractor to ensure speedy completion of the job, and affirmed that there was a firm understanding that the contractor should be able to deliver the project by February 2022.
The governor expressed appreciation to the media for being good partners to his administration and said “we have continued to stay on course in our promises to deltans.
“We wish that we would have moved a little faster than we are doing at the moment but unfortunately, our resources are dwindling more and more every day.
“However, we have continued to ensure that the projects we already have ongoing, would be delivered.
“One of the major projects is the Asaba Leisure Park and Film Village. Unfortunately, there is a shift on the date of delivery”.
Continuing, he said work on sectors C1 and C2 of Asaba/Ughelli road dualisation was still on course, and pointed out that the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., had informed him that Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku stretch of the road would be delivered in April, 2022.
“From the latest report that l had from the contracting firm, CCECC Nigeria Ltd., the one running from Asaba to Ogwashi-Uku will be delivered by the end April 2022 in full (both lanes) while the other sector running from Ogwashi-Uku to Ossissa will be delivered at the later part of 2022 or early part of 2023.
“Work is still ongoing in sector A from Ughelli to Ozoro and l believe too that the contractor will finish that job in the early part of 2023”, he added.

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