The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has appealed to the United States government to support programmes that would enhance peace and security in the Niger Delta to facilitate sustainable development in the oil-rich region.
The NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, made the appeal when a delegation from the United States Consulate in Lagos, led by the US Consul-General, John Bray paid him a courtesy visit at the Commission’s Headquarters in Port Harcourt.
A statement signed by the Director, Corporate Affairs, Ibitoye Abosede, last Tuesday, emphasised the need for an enduring peace in the Niger Delta region, adding that security was critical for development and growth.
According to him, “It is noteworthy that you are coming at the onset of our political season. We expect some assistance from the US government. We have specific concerns in the Niger Delta, especially during an election period like this, principally in the area of security.”
“The US government can use its influence to prevail on our politicians to allow democracy to thrive in Nigeria. If politicians can be made to play by the rules, it will help in the process of maintaining peace and security during and after the elections,” Ekere added.
Ekere lamented that “a lot of the youths because of the challenges of unemployment and poverty, lend themselves to be used by politicians as thugs.”
He remarked: “Most times what makes the political process explosive and dangerous is the attitude of some sit- tight- office holders who do not believe that the political process should be a referendum by the people on their performance in office.
“The reason the constitution allows us to have a chance to conduct elections every four years is so that those that did well could be considered to continue, while those that did not perform well should be kicked out. They should be honest enough to allow that process to evolve so that the citizens can have their say in the governance system.”
Diri Slams Water Resources Bill
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has described as draconian the National Water Resources Bill before the National Assembly, saying it would have adverse effects on the predominantly maritime state if it is passed into law.
Diri condemned the Bill when the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, and her team paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the Governor as saying that it would be unfair and unjust to introduce the Water Resources Bill when oil producing states were still agitating for a fair deal from their oil and gas resources.
“The Water Resources Bill is not acceptable. The provisions of the bill, if it becomes law, would have more negative impact on us as we are a mainly maritime environment.
“Having taken away our oil and gas resources, the Federal Government is trying to introduce a water resources law at a time that we are still fighting for a fair deal. This Bill is tantamount to stifling us. The Federal Government is on our neck and we cannot breathe anymore”, he said.
The Governor called on sponsors of the Bill to withdraw it, saying the country operates a fedteral System of government rather than a unitary government.
“We are running a Federal government where you do not centralise resources or political power. It is where you run a unitary system of government that those kind of draconian bills can come. But in an ideal federal system, you allow the states to expropriate their resources and pay taxes to the Federal Government.
“They emasculate the states’ resources and then give peanuts to them. They still turn around to say the states are not performing. How can they perform when you take away all their resources?”, Governor Diri queried.
On ending open defecation, the Governor assured that under the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project, his administration would collaborate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to stop the menace, as it is one of the indices of development.
He said some of the intiatives the State Government had put in place to end the era of open defecation include setting up of the Bayelsa State Council for Water Resources and approval of N250 million for the WASH project this year.
The state’s helmsman also directed the Commissioner for Water Resources to ensure that the 3.6 million-litre Federal Government water scheme at Otuoke is resuscitated, adding that the Yenagoa, Ovom and Okaka water stations had been rehabilitated.
Earlier, the Minister of Water Resources, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dame Didi Walson-Jack, said in 2019, a national campaign was launched to end open defecation in the country.
The Minister said this was critical to achieving sustainable development goal number six on water and sanitation.
He noted that an estimated 48 million persons practised open defecation in the country, which necessitated building a new culture of safe sanitation across Nigeria.
He said as at today, 83 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country were open defecation free and the Ministry was currently working in Brass and Kolokuma/Opokuma LGAs in the State in collaboration with UNICEF towards ending open defecation in the areas.
While promising to provide technical support to resuscitate the water scheme at Otuoke, the Minister solicited the partnership of the State Government towards ensuring that the six other LGAs attained the status of open defecation free by 2025, which is the national set target.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
2,219 Vulnerable Persons In Bayelsa Get FG’s N20,000 Grant Each
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, has commenced disbursement of cash grants of N20,000 each to 2,219 poor and vulnerable persons in Bayelsa State.
The Minister, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, while disbursing the grants in Yenagoa, said that the beneficiaries were drawn from the eight Local Government Areas of the State.
Faroug said the exercise was part of the Federal Government’s efforts to consolidate on the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
She said the programme was designed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to alleviate the sufferings of the poor and vulnerable citizens of the society.
She said the grant was introduced in 2020 with a national target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.
The Minister said that 70 per cent of the grant would be disbursed to women, while the youths and persons with disability would get the remaining 30 percent.
She urged the beneficiaries to use the grant in productive activities that would generate more income and improve their living standard.
Faroug expressed appreciation to the Bayelsa Government for partnering with the ministry to ensure that NSIP was effectively implemented in the state.
A beneficiary of the programme, Mrs Pere Ebinabe, thanked the federal government for the gesture, promising to use the fund in reviving her ailing businesses.
The Tide’s source reports that the digitised payment system for conditional cash transfers was also inaugurated and second stream of independent monitors to assess the programme implementation trained.
Ambrose Alli Varsity Disengages Ad-hoc, Casual Workers
Management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State has disengaged all ad-hoc and casual members of staff from the service of the university.
The university announced this via a special release by the Acting Registrar of the university, Mr Ambrose Odiase.
The university in the release, a copy of which was made available to The Tide’s source in Benin, said it was abolishing the category of staff with immediate effect, to better reposition the institution.
“The management of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma in repositioning the university and in line with International Labour Law Conventions and best practices, hereby abolishes the position of Ad-Hoc and Casual Staff in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, with immediate effect.
“In light of this, the university management hereby disengages from her employment, all ad-hoc and casual staff in Ambrose Alli university, Ekpoma.
“By this circular, all those affected, are to proceed to the Bursary Department for the processing and payment of all outstanding allowances and stipends due to them by 2:00pm on Wednesday, August 10.
“The university management thanks all the erstwhile ad-hoc and casual staff of the university for their services and wishes them well in all their future endeavours,” it said.
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