Dialogue Best Option For N’Delta Crisis – US Envoy
The United State has identi
fied dialogue and practical efforts in the development of the Niger Delta, as veritable means to resolve the security and other related challenges of the region.
The Deputy Head of Mission of the United States Embassy in Nigeria, Ambassador David Young, stated this, during a courtesy call on the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson at Government House, Yenagoa recently.
The envoy, who is visiting Bayelsa for the first time, implored the Federal Government to put in place, measures that would improve the living conditions of the Niger Delta people.
While calling on all stakeholders to embrace dialogue, as part of the process of resolving the crisis in the region, Young observed that successive governments in the country had been making efforts to achieve the best possible means to deploy the wealth generated from the Niger Delta to impact on the lives of the people.
According to him, the US government was ready to partner with Nigeria and Bayelsa State in the area of funding development and economic prosperity, through a variety of programmes, including agriculture, health, education and maritime security, without losing focus on transparency and fiscal responsibility.
“The US government feels very strongly that all stakeholders should be engaged in dialogue, as part of the process to arrive at equitable and fair solution for all involved. We believe that a bit of challenge for Nigeria, is to transform the region of oil wells (the Niger Delta) into improvement in the life of the average Niger Deltan. And, that is something we feel very strongly about.
“We encourage Nigerians to work for common goals as against violence and criminal activities. We encourage Nigeria to establish conditions and mechanisms for lasting change over time and provide economic opportunities and services for Deltans. US provides assistance to the region, through maritime security training, aviation security, treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, good governance planning, agric system and a number of other activities. So we want to be your partner.”
In his response, Dickson lamented the level of environmental damage in the Niger Delta and renewed his call on multinational corporate organisations, particularly the oil majors to adhere to international standards in their operations in the region.
While calling for caution on the part of troops, being deployed to the region, Governor Dickson said that the solution to the problems of the Niger Delta lay squarely on development and environmental justice, which he noted, could only be achieved through meaningful dialogue.
Describing the environment as a critical heritage of any people, the Governor commended the Federal Government for kick-starting the Ogoniland Clean-Up Programme and called for its extension to other parts of the region.
According to him, as the place where oil was first struck in commercial quantity, Bayelsa records an average of three oil pollutions in a day and requires a special attention from the Federal Government and the multi-Nationals.
Dickson expressed gratitude to the US envoy and his team for the visit, and solicited their assistance in the areas of education, infrastructural development and promotion of peace and stability in the Niger Delta.
“We believe that the issues of the Niger Delta are not such that can be resolved by means of confrontation or show of military strength. We believe that these are essentially issues of development; they are issues about the environment.
“So, we as a government, community leaders, corporate executives, particularly the oil majors that are operating here and the Federal Government, its agencies and the friends of our country should work together to resolve the challenges of the Niger Delta.
“These are issues that working together sincerely and following a clear roadmap, we think can be resolved in such a way that communities will be prosperous; government, agencies and businesses within our region will benefit from the overall climate of stability and security that will be generated when there is a consensus building effort. That is where we stand and I believe that has been the position of the US Mission,” he added
A’Ibom Doles Out N132m For Hospital Maintenance
The Akwa Ibom State Government has released N132 million for the maintenance of General Hospitals across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state in the last one year.
The State’s Commissioner for Health, Prof. Augustine Umoh, disclosed this during an Inter-Ministerial Briefing, tagged, “Tracking the Promise” in Uyo, recently.
Umoh said Governor Udom Emmanuel is committed to effective healthcare delivery service in the state.
He noted that the State Government is aware of shortage of Nurses and Midwives in the health sector, adding that the shortfall of medical personnel has been addressed through employment of over 300 Doctors and Nurses in hospitals .
The Commissioner, however, said the number of recruited medical personnel was not enough, and government planned to bring back retired Midwives, who are still strong to support existing ones in the healthcare service.
“We will soon bring back retired Midwives who are still strong into the state hospital service. Government will pay them stipends to encourage them in contributing through their acquired experiences in the health sector.
“However, more health personnel would be employed to ensure efficient healthcare delivery in the state”, Umoh said.
He reeled out achievements of the Governor in the health sector in the last eight years to include renovation of hospitals and construction of new ones.
He listed the remodeled hospitals in the state to include; General Hospitals in Ikot Abasi, Eket, Anua and the procurement of medical equipment.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, said it became necessary to sensitise the public on the true position of government’s projects, programmes and activities.
Ememobong said it was worrisome that after seven and half years of governance with numerous record of achievements in all sectors, some sordid and disparaging news items are still being spread around.
“We have, therefore, brought every section of the society together here to find out the reason the stories and reports sent out do not correspond with what we have on ground in the State.
“Governor Emmanuel has constructed numerous roads in the State, such as the Uyo-Etinan-Ndon Eyo Road and Ikot Oku Ikono flyover, among others but someone will write that there is no road in Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
UBTH Mourns Former CMD
The management of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) has expressed grief over the death of Prof. Michael Ibadin, a former Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital.
In a statement made available to The Tide’s source in Benin yesterday, the CMD, Dr Darlington Obaseki, said the deceased succumbed during a brief illness.
Obaseki described the late Ibadin as a quintessential leader and a mentor to many.
He said his demise was a big loss not only to his family, but also to the hospital community and the medical world.
“With a deep sense of loss and pain in our hearts, we submit to the will of the Almighty God on the passing into the celestial realm of our former CMD, Prof. M.O. Ibadin after a brief illness.
“Until his death, he was a Professor of Paediatrics, a Consultant Pediatric Nephrologist and an astute health administrator.
“He was also a mentor who introduced several persons into hospital administration and management, including myself.
“We commiserate with his immediate family at this time and pray that God himself will console them and grant them the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” he said.
Reverse Illegal Sack Of Workers, Obaseki Tells AAU Mgt
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has directed the management of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, to immediately reverse all recent disengagement letters issued to some staff of the institution.
The government directive is contained in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media Projects to the Governor, Mr Crusoe Osagie, and made available to newsmen in Benin.
Obaseki, in the statement, said the sack notices issued earlier to some staff of the university were illegal, null and void.
“The management is to retrieve any such illegal letters if they were ever issued and reinstate the affected staff.
“I have ordered an in-depth investigation into what led to the sporadic issuance of illegal sack letters and ensure that anyone found culpable will be brought to book”, the Governor said.
Obaseki reiterated his commitment to the welfare of members of staff, adding that he was working to find solutions to all lingering issues affecting workers in the state-owned institution.
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