Former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, has commended Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for organising what he described as “comprehensive” Golden Jubilee celebrations.
Speaking at the Golden Jubilee Anniversary Lecture at Dr. Obi Wali International Conference Centre, last Wednesday, in Port Harcourt, tagged, “Democracy and Development in Nigeria: The Case of Rivers State”, the former president observed that the programme covers all aspects of the state.
In his words, “Everyday I watch television, I see programmes going on. Commissioning of projects is taking place. It takes somebody with commitment; somebody with foresight, and somebody with a strong team to achieve all these”.
The former president stated that he was not surprised that Wike was living up to the expectations of the people, because as a minister, he excelled.
He said: “Having had the opportunity to serve at the state level for eight years and at the centre for eight years, I can attest to the fact that Wike is working.
“Let me specifically thank the governor of Rivers State, somebody who worked with me, somebody I believe in. That is why I conferred on him the prestigious title of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON),” Jonathan said.
The former president used the forum to call for more equitable treatment of minorities as he called for reforms to ensure that more resources get to the states, rather than the interventionist agencies already affected by politics.
Jonathan also called for the implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report, which he said, will help the nation address the numerous development challenges facing it.
He said that the states in the Niger Delta have achieved more in terms of development since they started accessing 13 per cent derivation than when interventionist agencies operated.
According to him, due to political influence on the interventionist agencies, the entire Niger Delta is replete with abandoned projects.
Also speaking, National Caretaker Committee Chairman of People Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said only PDP has the capacity to embark on the restructuring of the country.
He said: “In PDP, we believe that our Federation needs to be fixed. We will ensure reforms in a manner that every federating unit will know that they will not be abandoned.”
Earlier, Chairman of the occasion and pioneer Commissioner for Finance, Prof. Lawrence Ekpebu, had said the state had come a long way, and praised the resilience, bravery and courage of the people.
He noted that, “Rivers State has grown to be a tiger among other states of the federation”.
Ekpebu said the state will benefit by remaining in the federation and managing its resources to the benefit of its people than to stand alone, recalling that the vision of Gen. Yakubu Gowon was to give the people an identity.
Guest lecturer, Prof. Godini Darah, in his lead paper, argued that Rivers State was key to the economy of the country.
Darah submitted that the creation of states in 1967, enhanced democracy as it was built on equitability and competition.
He, however, suggested that Rivers State needs to pursue a development agenda that will enhance its human and material resources, adding, “let us move from being Treasure Base of Nigeria to Treasure Base of Rivers People.”
Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, in his remarks, stated that the creation of Rivers State gave the people self identity, emphasizing that today the state has become a major economic base of the country.
According to him, “The resources gotten here have helped in the overall development of the country.”
NEC Pleads With Labour To Shelve Strike
The National Economic Council (NEC) has urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) not to abandon dialogue in their quest for better welfare for their members.
The Council also appealed to the unions to suspend their planned nationwide indefinite strike schedule to start on October 3.
Governor Caleb Mutfwang of Plateau State stated this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the nation was at a very critical moment in its history, adding that some States took over such labour crisis when they assumed office in May.
According to him, some of such States just resolved the crisis and will be unfair for the labour to return to another industrial action.
The Plateau State governor said that the proposed industrial action would have immense effect on the economy of both the states and the Federal Government.
He said that the NEC expressed genuine concern about the situation in the country and appealed for calm and patience among Nigerians.
“The National Economic Council (NEC) deliberated on the planned indefinite strike by the National leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to proceed on an indefinite strike on Oct. 3, 2023.
“The council noted further the implications of the planned strike on the economy and the nation and thus urge members to continue to engage with the leadership of their respective states.
“It appeals to them to suspend the action and to continue on the path of dialogue with the Federal Government. This is the appeal of the council.”
Mutfwang said that the council appreciated the concerns raised by the NLC to have those issues addressed, adding that NEC also appealed for time to address the concerns of labour.
“We also believe that President Bola Tinubu will be addressing the nation on Oct. 1, and some of the concerns of labour will be appropriately addressed in the president’s speech.
“It is therefore important to note that it’s a federation issue, so whatever happens the labour is represented in all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“And NEC is appealing that discussion should continue at the state levels because there will be peculiarities as to the issues to be addressed concerning the demands of labour and therefore dialogue is the way to go.
Burkina Faso Military Junta Foils Coup Attempt, Detains Four Officers
Burkina Faso said yesterday that four officers had been detained, a day after the military government announced it had thwarted a coup attempt.
The four are suspected of involvement in a “conspiracy against state security”, military prosecutor, Ahmed Ferdinand Sountoura said in a statement yesterday.
Two others are “on the run” according to the statement.
The junta said late on Wednesday that the intelligence and security services had foiled a coup attempt the previous day.
The military government said it would seek to shed “all possible light on this plot”.
The alleged coup attempt came nearly a year to the day the junta leader, Captain Ibrahim Traore, seized power in the West African nation on September 30, 2022.
His takeover was the country’s second coup in eight months, both triggered in part by discontent at failures to stem a raging jihadist insurgency, which swept in from neighbouring Mali in 2015.
The military prosecutor has urged anyone with information that can “contribute to the manifestation of the truth to come to testify”.
Late on Tuesday, thousands of people had taken to the streets of the capital, Ouagadougou, following a call from Traore supporters to “defend” him amid rumours of a coup on social media.
Traore took to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday to stress his “determination to lead the transition safely despite the adversity and different manoeuvres to stop our inexorable march towards assumed sovereignty”.
French language news outlet, Jeune Afrique, which had recently published two articles about tensions within the military, saw its print and online operations suspended in Burkina Faso on Monday.
The Burkinabe government accused the news outlet of seeking to “discredit” the military.
Shortly after Traore’s takeover, military prosecutors in December 2022 said there had been an attempt to “destabilise state institutions”.
And earlier this month, the country’s military prosecutor said three soldiers had been arrested and charged with plotting against the ruling junta.
Investigators had received a tipoff about “soldiers and former soldiers working in intelligence” who were scouting out the homes and other locations used by key figures in the junta, including Traore.
Their goal was to “destabilise… the transition”, it said, referring to a term used to describe interim military rule before promised elections.
Burkina Faso, an impoverished landlocked country, saw Islamists sweep in from Mali in 2015.
More than 17,000 civilians, troops and police have since died, according to an NGO monitor.
Over two million people have been forced to flee their homes, creating one of Africa’s worst crises of internal displacement.
Anger within the armed forces led to a coup on January 24, 2022, toppling elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
On September 30, Kabore’s nemesis, Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, was himself overthrown by the 34-year-old Traore.
Traore has promised a return to democracy with presidential elections by July 2024.
Burkina’s military leaders earlier this month signed a mutual defence pact with counterparts in Mali and Niger.
The Liptako-Gourma region, where the three countries’ borders meet, has been ravaged by jihadism in recent years.
ECOWAS Donates $77,942 Grant To Train Poultry, Fish Farmers
ECOWAS has given $77,942 as training grant to 150 farmers in Bauchi State and the FCT to boost food security in Nigeria.
The beneficiaries are farmers of the Community Allied Farmers Association of Nigeria (COMAFAS).
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture Mrs Massandje Toure-Litse, made this known at the opening of a poultry training workshop for beneficiaries in Orozo, Abuja, Tuesday.
Toure-Litse said the grant would increase young peoples’ capacity to engage in agriculture value chains and food production.
She added that the grant is meant for the training of 150 youth in poultry and fisheries, as the two sub-sectors were the main driving force behind the sub-region’s economy and development.
“ECOWAS has designed quality training modules and arranged for the training of 3,032 young people (30 per cent women and 70 per cent men)”, she said.
Toure-Litse said agricultural productivity and competitiveness in West Africa had the tendency to impact positively on the sub-region’s food security, economic development, and livelihoods.
According to her, “the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy remains the guiding framework for the 15 members of the bloc as it prioritises agricultural productivity and competitiveness.
“The programme seeks to enhance the capacity of youth and women farmers and promote their access to resources and markets and their involvement in agribusiness”.
She noted that there was the need for urgent intervention in gender participation in agriculture and youth employment, food chains, crops, forestry, livestock and fisheries.
“Products from crops, livestock and fisheries are the second largest when we talk about intra-community trade and interestingly, among these, livestock is the largest item.
“It is anticipated that by 2030, at least 30 per cent of young people in the sub-region will be employed in the agriculture sector.
“This will amount to a 75 per cent reduction in youth under-employment in rural areas”, she said.
In his remarks, the Founder/President of COMAFAS, Dr Austine Maduka, said in spite of the expansion of poultry industry in Nigeria, it could only cater to 30 per cent of the needs of Nigerians.
Maduka said the training is aimed at educating young farmers on how best to start and manage production.
He said the partnership with ECOWAS would strengthen the move to ensure availability of meat, other foods and impact relevant skills for sustainable strategies to reduce poverty.
According to reports, 75 out of the 150 beneficiaries would be trained on poultry farming in the FCT, while the remaining 75 would be trained on fish farming in Bauchi.
The FCT beneficiaries were given 50 birds each, bags of poultry feeds and drugs as start-up capital.
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