A new group has emerged in Abia State with the vision of tackling kidnapping and other crimes in the state through youth development and empowerment programmes.
The group, Change Abia Organisation, a non-governmental organisation, intends to embark on a comprehensive development and empowerment of millions of Abia youths through establishment of skills acquisition centres across the 17 local government areas of the state to impart different skills to the youths, establishment of a football academy for training and identification of talented footballers, who would be exposed to local and international clubs. It also intends to identify and empower those with skills but without the resources to establish on their own.
Already, registration of interested youths are in progress across the state while the initiators and promoters of the programme are currently engaged in high level consultations with major stakeholders both in Nigeria and abroad, preparatory to the formal take-off of the project next month. The scope of the programme ranges from talent hunting in football to all facets of skills acquisition and assisting beneficiaries to set up on their own.
Change Abia Organisation, which is partnering with the Special Adviser to the President and Ambassador Plenipotentiary, John Fashanu, on its mission to constructively engage Abia youths, disclosed that N100 million has been set aside for the take off of the project which primary focus would be to rehabilitate repentant militants and kidnappers.
Abia has been in the throes of violent crimes, particularly kidnapping. This made the government to provide huge logistics support for the Police and other security operatives to launch a ferocious onslaught against the criminal elements with a view to flushing them out from the state.
But the founder of Change Abia Organisation, Ochiagha Regan Ufomba, said his initiative is to give the war against criminals in the state a human face.
At a joint press briefing with Fashanu in his Umuogele Ntigha country home in Isiala Ngwa North local government area, Thursday, Ufomba said of his mission and vision: “This vision is different from what is obtainable now because the popular belief is that to end this kidnapping and other vices, we must spend a lot of resources procuring arms and ammunitions such as AK 47 to kill everybody (the criminals); that it is a war that must be fought with bows and arrows, guns and machine guns.
“We said no; we can introduce human face to this war and we are firmly of the belief that to win this war and make it long lasting, we must empower them (youths). We believe that to win this war, it must not be fought through the barrel of the gun or even on empty stomach.”
Ufomba, a former Special Adviser to former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu on Grassroots Mobilisation, explained that dedicated telephone numbers would be published through which repentant militants could contact those that would be constituted as negotiators who would discuss available rehabilitation packages for those in that category. “We want to give hope and direction to the youths,” he said.
The essence of the negotiation, he explained is to discover why the militants are aggrieved and proffer solutions to such problems. He attributed high crime rate in the country to crumbling of discipline in the society, lack of employment opportunities which has engendered desperation and hopelessness. He appealed to all to join hands and make the programme of securing the Abia environment to succeed.
On his part, Fashanu said he was passionate about the programme because it was unique from others he has been involved in, stressing that apart from other roles he may play, he would be more interested in ensuring that those discovered to be good footballers were exposed to foreign clubs.
“One of my ideas is to screen these boys from the grassroots and take them to the federal level. What we are trying to achieve is where the best footballers go abroad for greener pastures while the ones not so good are absorbed by Nigerian football clubs. We must discover another Ronaldo here,” Fashanu said.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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