The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has decried what he described as injustice meted out to the state by the Federal Government as regards to revenue allocation over the years.
Ayade lamented the unfair treatment recently when he received the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed, who led members of the commission on a courtesy call on the governor in Calabar.
According to him, following deliberate decisions taken by the Federal Government and her agencies over the years, the people of the State “feel like captives in a place they call their own.”
Ayade said the loss of 76 oil wells by the state was a direct consequence of the ceding of Bakassi by the Federal Government and that rather than find a permanent solution to the fiscal challenges that arose from that action, the Federal Government has inflicted incalculable pain on the people.
Governor Ayade lamented: “You took our land, took our oil wells, took us out of 13 per cent derivation fund and reduced us to a weeping child in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). The pain is incalculable. We are a captured people by the Federal Government. We have no say because it does not matter. We practice “ethnography” and so it does not matter how the people of Bakassi and Cross River as a whole are in pains.
“Today we have NDDC, whose projects are based on percentage of oil production. So, look at what we have lost from the perspective of NDDC which keeps us as a crying child who is just in NDDC by geography and not by production, as the sharing formula here is by quantum of oil production coupled with the fact that today also we no longer benefit from the 13 per cent derivation,” he added.
“If not for President Buhari, I am sure that even the superhighway and Bakassi Deep Seaport (being developed by the state) would have been killed by now. But how can a people feel like captives in a place they call their own?” he queried.
According to him the Federal Government created a permanent injury and sought a temporary solution. So, there is a permanent loss of oil well and temporary allocation of revenue, how does that work?”
Wondering what indices are used by the federal government in deciding allocations for the state, he said, “if I have to link two villages in Cross River State, the minimum kilometers you are going to do is 5 to 6kilometers because the state’s landmass is 21,000 sqkm while you are dealing with sister states in the Niger Delta with 3,000 sqkm. You need to put six states together to give you our land mass”.
“I do not know how you calculated and factored the revenue that comes to Cross River State without considering the land mass. If land mass was a factor, land mass alone would have given us more allocation than any other state in the South-South. “If oil was the issue, then you should also know that you have not given a dime for frontier exploration of our gas and hydrocarbon deposits,” he said.
He therefore, charged the commission to use the opportunity of their visit, which is a fact-finding one, to write a report that will right the wrongs done to the state over the years.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Igbinedion University Inducts 90 Pharmacists
Igbinedion University, Okada (IUO), has inducted 90 pharmacists into its College of Pharmacy by the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN).
Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Lawrence Ezemonye, made this known during the 12th oath taking/induction ceremony of the 2021/2022 set in Benin.
He said the induction of the 90 made a total of 1,203 pharmacists graduated by the university since inception.
Ezemonye said the discipline is one of the institution’s flagship programmes highly sought after every year by applicants.
He urged the newly inducted pharmacists to be good ambassadors of the institution and contribute their quota toward advancing the healthcare delivery system.
“The graduates of this institution are blazing the trail in their various fields.
“Today, a total of 90 pharmacy graduates of the Dora Akunyili College of Pharmacy, found worthy in character and learning are being inducted.
“The event signifies the formal introduction of the graduates to the culture and practice of the pharmacy profession,’’ he said.
The Vice-Chancellor said that the National Universities Commission (NUC) approved the introduction of the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D) programme aside the Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) programme for the institution.
He added that “in a bid to blend theory with practice, the university recently built an automated factory for the production of disinfectants, antiseptics and laboratory reagents.
“We have since commenced production to meet the immediate needs of the university teaching hospital and the parent’s Consultative Forum Clinic in the university”.
Edo Supplies 780,000 Litres Of Petrol
The Edo State Government says it has supplied 780, 000 litres of petrol as part of efforts to address the scarcity of petrol in the state.
It also said it had set up a Task Force to monitor the product’s distribution and sales in filling stations across the state.
The Commissioner for Mining and Energy, Mr Ethan Uzamere, made the announcement in a news conference in Benin.
Flanked by the Commissioner for Information, Chris Nehikhare and the Special Adviser to the state governor on Media Projects, Mr Crusoe Osagie, Uzamere noted that the 780,000 litre-supoly was part efforts to address the scarcity of the product in the state.
Uzamere said that Edo government would also ensure that the marketers got the product at the official pump price and sell at the regulated price.
“The government has heard the cries of the people on the issue of fuel scarcity in the state.
“The state government is working to ensure the availability of the product.
“As part of the measures, government has set up a task force to monitor the situation and ensure that no Edo citizen is exploited.
“We also wish to announce that already, the state has received 780,000 litres of fuel which will be distributed to major and independent marketers.
“And the task force will monitor its distribution and sales,” Uzamere said.
Also, the Commissioner for Information, Mr Chris Nehikhare, assured the residents that the state government would do everything possible to ensure that the fuel scarcity crisis was addressed.
According to him, government will not hesitate to deal with anybody found to be engaging in arbitrary price hike and hoarding of the product.
In his remarks, the Special Adviser to the governor on Media Projects, Mr Crusoe Osagie, said that parts of the duties of the task force would be to monitor pricing in the state.
“We want to warn people who hike their prices that anyone who is caught would be severely punished according to the dictates of the law.
“We will guard against subjecting Edo people to pain.
“This government is committed and will leave no stone unturned in ensuring normal pricing of petrol in the state,” Osagie said.
Warri LG Empowers 250 SMEs With Items, Cash
The Chairman, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta, Dr Michael Tidi, says about 250 small business operators have benefited from the council’s empowerment programme, comprising both cash and items worth N25 million.
Tidi made this known in Warri at the maiden edition of Enterprise and Empowerment Initiative programme of his administration.
He said that the gesture was part of his effort to scale up economic activities in the oil-rich city.
Fifty of the beneficiaries were given the Point of Sale (POS) machines and a sum of N70,000 each to enable them to set up their businesses.
The remaining 200 beneficiaries were given cheques of N100, 000 each to inject into their already existing businesses.
Addressing the beneficiaries, Tidi said that they were drawn from the National Social Register of Delta through the Community Based Targeting (CBT).
He explained that the CBT was saddled with the responsibility of identifying the poors and vulnerables in the communities of Warri South.
“This is the brainchild of the first and second edition of the Warri Economic Summit, which Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa and some economic eggheads and industry personnel attended.
“Part of the recommendations was what we are gradually implementing here today. You and I know that economic progress is anchored on SMEs. This is SME acceleration in every sense of the word.
“This Economic Empowerment programme is a response to the observed deficiencies in the capital base of small scale business operators.
“And lack of investment in human capital development at the grassroots, resulting to uneven distribution of resources to the poor and vulnerable,” Tidi said.
The chairman said that the empowerment was in line with the Okowa’s agenda on human capital development programmes.
“Wherein some small scale business operators in the LGA, who are at the bottom of economic pyramid, are identified for inclusion to access Micro Credit toward boosting their businesses,” he said.
Tidi, however, thanked the governor whom he described as his “mentor” for the various youths empowerment programmes in the state.
While assuring that the programme would come up again in no distant time, he said that its sustainability would be determined by how judicious and efficient the recipients put the resources into use.
“We will be encouraged to do more when we observe that recipients are committed to their business.
“Remember, the council has details of all the recipients and such will be monitoring the extent to which this opportunity will be utilised by the beneficiaries,” Tidi said.
The chairman said that the programme has nothing to do with elections, but rather strictly based on the needs of the people.
He noted that N25 million injected into the economy through the programme would drive the economy of the Warri city.
Tidi said he had embarked on the rehabilitation of the existing boreholes within the council, constructed a befitting Chairman’s Residential Quarters, provided solar light, renovated roads, schools among others that since inception of his administration.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Anthonia Babajide, commended the local government chairman, assuring him that she would put the money into judicious use.
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