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Niger Delta

Edo Earmarks N99.25bn For 2010

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Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole Friday in Benin City presented the 2010 budget estimates of N99.25 billion to Edo State House of Assembly. The Appropriation Bill christened: “Budget of consolidation,” exceeds the 2009 Budget by N18.66 billion representing 23 percent. The 2010 fiscal policy comprises capital projection of N60.54 billion and a recurrent estimate of N38. 71 billion. A sum of N61.358 billion is proposed as recurrent revenue which is made up of internally generated revenue (IGR) of N18 billion representing 29 percent, statutory allocation of N29. 75 billion or 48 percent and excess crude and other oil revenue put at N13.60 billion representing 22 percent. In the financial estimates, the balance of N37.89 billion will be funded with N6.6 billion from the ValuEAdded Tax (VAT), N9.23 billion from grants as well as the contribution from loans and the opening balance from the current 2009 Budget. On capital projects priorities for 2010, the Governor said the combined-proposed allocation to roads with flood and erosion control and environmental beautification is N32.6 billion which constitutes 54 percent of the total, budget proposals, adding that the primary attention on Benin City would be sustained while road construction and rehabilitation would be extended to the 18 local government areas of the state. According to Comrade Oshiomhole, there would be commencement of a new primary drainage system within Benin City that would properly channel floods into natural tributaries based on the new Benin City Storm Water Master Plan, just as the Benin Moat will experience up-grading through stone-pitching to enhance its durability for the purpose of flood control and its presentation as a tourist heritage. He said government would embark on a massive aforestation programme in 2010 starting with the raising of one million tree seedlings. Another priority area is the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructures in the education sector for which the sum of N7.5 billion is proposed. To boost agricultural productivity, N120 million is allocated for the purchase of additional tractors and implements to support farmers and farming communities in addition to other key initiatives in the agricultural sector. New fleet of mass transit buses would be acquired to strengthen the Edo Transport Service to ease the pains of commuters in a partnership arrangement with the private sector for which the initial Edo State Counterpart Funding of N372 million is provided in the 2010 budget. Also in the transport sector the State Government proposed to set up traffic management and Accident Rescue Corp while 250 million has been proposed for the purchase of emergency relief materials and N120 million for the rehabilitation and development of markets. The governor emphasized that as promised last year, the capacity of the Edo State Broadcasting Service (EBS) and The Nigerian Observer would be enhanced, hence the allocation of N100 million for the purchase of Outside Broadcasting Service (OBS) vans and other facilities to improve performance while N70 million had been proposed to acquire state-of-the art printing equipment for The Nigerian Observer. Ben-Ose Ogbemudia, Benin

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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