President Umru Yar’Adua has advised the Niger Delta region to embrace peace and support development initiatives in the region.
The president also reaffirmed his administration’s readiness to invest in power to eradicate poverty.
President Yar’Adua, who is on an official visit to Bayelsa State, arrived the peace park, venue of the civic reception held for him by his host, Governor Timpre Sylva, in company of the Minister of Solid Minerals, Mrs. Daezani Madueke and Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State.
However, both senators and members of House of Representatives representing the state in the National Assembly were absent. An Abuja source confided that the legislators did not accompany the president because they said they were not invited by the state government. But a top government official denied this saying they were sent letters of invitation.
Yar’Adua, who expressed his administration’s preparedness to transform the Niger Delta, urged those he described as merchants of violence to change their ways.
But to those who genuinely took up arms to draw attention to the sad situation to the region, he said, “we have heard you and we are ready to work with you to move the Niger Delta forward in the interest of its long-suffering people.
“But to those hiding under the cover of legitimate protest to feather private nests, those merchants of violence, I say to you: change your ways, the people of Niger Delta have seen through your antics and will soon expose you”.
He urged all the people to give the administration a chance to earn their trust.
The president expressed hope that soon, “the region will be transformed into a development hub not only for Nigeria but also for the West African sub-region, in a way that will surpass the recent post-conflict transformation of Angola. But this cannot happen without peace and partnership.
“This is why we are strongly committed to prompt payment of all statutory allocations due to the region and to continued support to interventionist agencies like the NDDC. This is also why we created the Ministry of Niger Delta to coordinate our holistic approach to he transformation of this region.”
He, however, noted that all these would come to naught without peace, without trust, and cooperation of stakeholders.
“Let me therefore use this opportunity to state categorically that our amnesty offer to militants is not a ruse. It is for real “he said, and stressed that the administration would continue to put in place every measure that would bring about peace.
He said the complaints of the people of the region have been noted and expressed his determination to work with them to uplift the state and the region.
Speaking on power, he said it would impact on the lives of Bayelsans.
According to him, regular supply of electricity would improve the productive capacities of Bayelsans and deepen opportunities for growth and prosperity.
The administration, according to him, believes power represents a principal pathway out of poverty for Nigerians.
“Clearly, we need to fix electricity as quick as possible”.
“This is why electricity is accorded a priority position under critical infrastructure in our 7-Point Agenda. And this is why we are not wavering in our commitment to generating and distributing 6,000 MW by the end of this year, and 10,000 MW by 2011. There are enormous challenges ahead but the targets will be met”.
NDLEA Act Amendment ’ll Further Strengthen Nigeria’s Drug War – Marwa
Chairman/Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd), said the ongoing amendment of the Agency’s Act at the National Assembly will further boost the country’s fight against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking.
Marwa, who stated this at the NDLEA Special Purpose Committee conference (SPC) in Abuja, Friday, disclosed that some of the details of the new bill, which is in its final stage of being passed, will strengthen the hand of the Agency and discourage trafficking of illicit substances because of the stringent punitive measures stipulated for drug offences.
While appreciating the SPC members, who are experts in relevant fields that constitute an advisory group to support the work of the Agency across the country for their contributions to the achievements of NDLEA under his leadership, Marwa said the time is now for well-spirited Nigerians to join the fight against the drug scourge, which though may not be in every family, but affects every community.
He said: “Let me state from the onset that contrary to a recent report that the drug abuse problem is in every household in Nigeria, I’ll like to correct that misrepresentation and state that there are indeed families not afflicted by this menace.
“However, that we can’t say of the communities. It is almost certain that every community has this problem. That said, I would like to assure that the NDLEA Act is presently in its final stage of its amendment at the National Assembly.
“It’s a private bill sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, Senator Hezekiah Dimka, and it will among other things remove the option of fine in the sentencing of offenders as well as make punishments for drug offences more stringent.”
Marwa added that President Muhammadu Buhari understands the drug problem very well and has as part of his continuous support approved the recruitment of additional 5,000 officers and men to further strengthen the Agency.
While briefing the conference of the several successes so far recorded by the NDLEA under him, Marwa said apart from putting premium on training, he has also ensured that personnel welfare remains top on his agenda.
In her goodwill message, wife of Edo State Governor, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki, who is a member of the SPC, emphasised the importance of the strategic committee to the work of NDLEA.
She urged the gathering to remain optimistic about a glorious Nigeria.
“What NDLEA has achieved in recent times is a reflection of the focus, patriotism, and commitment of Gen. Marwa. He is the kind of person Nigeria needs in leadership positions to take this country to the great height it’s destined for,” she added.
GBV: FG Wants Partners’ Support In Forensic Machines Acquisition
The Federal Government has called for support from development partners to acquire forensic machines and to expand the scope of test and evidence gathering to address rape and other forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV) cases.
Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, made the call at a joint news conference to launch activities to commemorate the 2022 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and Harmful Traditional Practices in Abuja, Friday.
Tallen explained that the establishment of more forensic laboratories across the country would guarantee access to reliable information and evidence to prosecute reported cases of rape, sexual and GBV.
She said “want to appeal to our development partners to support the acquisition of more forensic machines to make it easy to carry out test on rape cases in the country, as the existing ones are only accessible in Adamawa and Lagos states.
“We are talking with the Minister of State for Budget to ensure that we have it in the budget so that we can have at least one forensic lab in each geo-political zone and from there we will move down to states.”
The UN-Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Beatrice Eyong, said “GBV is not only a violation of human rights, but a critical threat to the economic development and GDP growth of the country.
“Gender-Based Violence has the capacity of reducing the gross domestic products, which means there is a detrimental relationship between GBV and economic growth”.
Eyong further said the theme of this year’s activism campaign — “UNiTE! Activism to End Violence Against Women and Girls” called for coordinated actions from government, CSOs and the UN systems to share knowledge and innovations to end GBV.
Also speaking, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms Samuela Isopi decried the prevailing cases of GBV, especially in cyber spaces, stressing the need for more strategies to prevent and address it.
On her part, the Resident Representative of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria, reiterated the Fund’s commitment toward advancing the cause of women and ending all forms of violence and harmful practices against them.
The National Programme Manager, Rule of Law and Anti- Corruption (RoLAC), Danladi Plang, while commending government and other stakeholders for the progress in addressing GBV, called for more measures to end the menace.
Highlights of the event include commitments by representatives of the diplomatic community to address GBV and a candle light possession in honour of women, girls, boys and men that lost their lives as a result of violence.
We Are Winning War Against Insecurity-Uzodinma
The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, has insisted that his administration is winning the war against insecurity in the state.
Uzodimma stated this during the 31st edition of the Annual Lecture/Awards of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN), which was held in Ikeja, Lagos State.
Represented by the Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumber, Uzodinma, who received CRAN’s coveted Platinum Award in Fight Against Insecurity, was among 36 respected and deserving Nigerians recognized by the association for their services to the country and humanity.
The Governor said it was because the fight against insecurity in Imo State was yielding dividends that attention could now be given to other essential issues in the state.
According to the Governor, if not for insecurity which took most of the attention and resources of the Imo State Government, the state would have become incredibly transformed to the level that other states would be envious of Imo.
He further explained that it was because the insecurity had been tackled and checkmated to a certain level that the government decided to focus attention on other important state matters, which led to the promotion of civil servants across board in the state.
The commissioner also stated that “But he said I should come to represent him. His Excellency is super excited with the award because it hit the point of his dogged fight against insecurity in Imo State, which has worked, and today, Imo State is relatively safe.”
“When people appreciate sacrifices made in restoring peace in Imo State, then the Governor too will be happy. When you appreciate somebody for what he has done, he will do more.
“He said I should thank CRAN, for not only watching and monitoring what he had been doing in Imo state, and is still doing, but for appreciating.
“Civil servants in Imo State had not been promoted in the past ten years in the State because of the enormous amount of money involved, but he approved the promotion of all civil servants in Imo State across the board.
“This is happening now because there is peace in Imo State and the governor can now focus on other important things”, he stated.
He continued that “when people appreciate sacrifices made in restoring peace in Imo State, then the Governor too will be happy. When you appreciate somebody for what he has done, he will do more.”
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