The warring communities in Cross River and Ebonyi States held a second peace summit in Calabar on the heels of incessant communal attacks that have claimed lives, displaced residents and destruction of property worth millions of naira over portions of land in the boundary communities.
Facilitated by the Catholic Diocese of Ogoja and Abakaliki, it drew communities from Adadama in Abi, Osokom in Obubra, Ukelle in Yala Local Government Areas of Cross River and Igbeagu in Izzi, Abakaliki and Ikwo Local Government Areas of Ebonyi States as they converged on Calabar last week to consolidate on the resolutions achieved during the first peace initiative held in Abakaliki recently.
Crusader of the Peace Summit, Rev. Fr. John Ezeh, highlighted key points of the peace efforts featuring the breaking of kolanut as a symbol of acceptance of peace that will usher in a return to mutual coexistence which has eluded these communities since two decades of hostilities amongst themselves.
The Cross River state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, represented by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Security, Dr Alfred Mboto, urged youths in the warring communities to be law abiding and embrace peace to foster nation building.
“You cannot build a nation when you are not law abiding and being your brother’s keeper. Can you build a nation when you are insensitive to your neigbour whom you are supposed to see after his well-being?” He asked.
According to the permanent secretary, the governor expects the summit to bring lasting peace with a joint committee to discuss freely with youths from other areas while averring that those who flout the peace initiative should be treated as individuals not as a community.
“We expect that at the end of this summit, we should not have problems in these areas again. We would have a joint committee that would move freely to discuss things together and make sure that an individual crime is not generalized to become a community crime.”
On his part, the Special Adviser to the Governor in Northern Senatorial District, Mr. Leo Iyambe stressed that disarmament and security are a collective business hinting of Cross River government’s resolve in taking concerted efforts to fix security posts, flash points in Obubra, Abi and Yala Local Government.
“Security is not a one man thing, disarmament is another thing we need to discuss as youths to have relative peace. we are fixing security posts to ensure proactive movement to wade off any possible breach of peace”
Decrying the level of destruction, a youth leader from Obubra, King Omenge, enjoined youths from the warring communities who are at the receiving end as key actors of the incessant crisis to ensure peace is attained at all cost so as to return to the good old days as neighbours.
“Peace has eluded us in our area and we have concluded that this war has really destroyed and killed a lot of people. We cannot continue to kill ourselves, let us do everything possible to see how we can return to the good old days we used to live in peace”
Heaving a sigh of relief with news of disarmament from youths in Ebonyi and Cross River, Omenge said; “so far after our meeting in Abakaliki early this month, we went home with resolutions to disarm our youths in the bush and that has been achieved.”
The summit which did not touch on areas like; remote causes of the crisis, sponsors and blame game attracted top security Chiefs in Cross River, clergy, political leaders in the three local governments in Ebonyi as well as community leaders who resolved to work in harmony to ensure that peace is achieved at all cost.
HCD Charges Journalists On Adequate Reportage
The Edo State Human Capital Development Programme (HCD), on Friday charged Journalists to adequately report the three thematic areas of the HCD to enable beneficiaries understand the benefits that are inherent in the programme.
The TIde’s source reports that HCD Programme is a project of the National Economic Council (NEC) with its Core Working Groups working on three thematic areas of health and nutrition, education and labour force participation.
The Regional Consultant, South-South, HCD, Mr Olusoji Adeniyi, gave the charge at a two-day Media engagement and HCD reporting for media agencies, held in Benin, the Edo State Capital.
Speaking on the topic, “Accelerating HCD Base in Nigeria”, Adeniyi said the three thematic areas of HCD were poorly reported, adding that stakeholders and communities were not aware of the benefit of the programme.
He noted that the media needed to say more about what government was doing through the HCD to enable communities become aware of the benefit of education and other thematic areas of the programme.
“The training is to build the capacity of media agencies and also to introduce the components of HCD to journalists to avoid misconception.
“The essence of the workshop is to let you know that HCD is a life cycle of a child effect which begins from the womb, the health of the mother, breastfeeding, nurturing of the child and the educational status of that child.
“It involves the opportunity for the child to become employable through the skills learnt.
“During the period, they were exposed to adolescency to young adults who would contribute to the labour force of the country.
“So the media need to engage the communities to let them know that a child that is wondering around during school hours, is a child that is likely to drop out of school and needs to be corrected and taken back to school.
“We want people to understand that a child that is going to be fully developed to contribute to the economy of the nation starts from when the child is in the mother’s womb.
“It covers when the child is born in a facility that has the right kind of birth attendants so that we do not loose the child and mother to infant and maternal mortality”, he said.
According to him, “we are in Edo where bronze casting has become obsolete and the media need to educate the people on the need to revive it because it has put Edo on the world map.
Adeniyi, however, disclosed that a total of 260 journalists have so far been trained in the south south region on HCD programme.
Also speaking, the Edo HCD Focal Person and Managing Director, Edo Skills Development Agency, (Edojobs), Mrs Violet Obiokoro, stated that Governor Godwin Obaseki had invested in HCD and was working with the three thematic areas of health and nutrition, education and labour force.
Obiokoro, however, lamented that all of the improvement recorded so far by the governor in the state in the thematic areas have been under reported.
“The Governor has done a lot in these areas but they are under reported and as a result, people are not aware of what government is doing”, Obiokoro said.
According to her, “I want to appeal to you all to begin to look into these areas and help us report what government is doing.
“it is about time we begin to report these activities and collect data by ourselves instead of waiting for people to report and collect data for us”.
A plenary was held with HCD thematic Focal Persons from the ministry of Health, Education and Edojobs to discuss the impact of HCD thematic areas in the state.
Gunmen Abduct Cleric, Daughter, Another In Calabar
A cleric, Rev. Mike Obiora of the World Alive Church, Calabar, was reportedly abducted on Friday, along with his daughter.
The Tide source also learnt that an unidentified man, who recently moved into his own house in the city, was also abducted on Friday morning.
The Spokesperson for the Police Command in the state, SP Irene Ugbo, confirmed the three abductions to the source.
According to Ugbo, the cleric, his daughter, and the third victim were abducted at Victory Street, Satellite Town, in Calabar Municipality Local Government Area.
It was further learnt that the gunmen had a getaway boat waiting for them nearby, which they reportedly used to whisk away their victims.
Meanwhile, Ugbo said the Command would not relent until all those kidnapped were found.
“We are aware of the incidents. Our men swung into action when they got the distress call.
“We won’t relent until the victims are rescued from their abductors”, she said.
Gov Woos Investors In Agriculture, Others At UNGA 78
The Akwa Ibom State Government has called on investors across the world to invest in agriculture and other sectors in the state, assuring them of providing enabling environment.
The State Governor, Umo Eno, said this at a High Level Meeting tagged “Attracting investments in Land Restoration, Food Systems and Rural Transformation in Africa”.
The meeting was organised by African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), Nigeria, in collaboration with AUDA-NEPAD Continental on margins of the 78th session of UN General Assembly.
Eno, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant, Dr Ekem John, spoke on his readiness to welcome investors to his state and give them maximum support.
According to him, apart from Abuja, the Nigerian Federal Capital Territory, Akwa Ibom has made conscious efforts to put infrastructure to attract investors.
“We are making conscious efforts in terms of the three gateways – land, air and sea. You can go to anywhere within Akwa Ibom in one hour on motorable roads.
“We conscious of the fact that as we’re promoting agriculture, small farm holders in our rural areas must be able to evacuate their produce.
“In terms of air infrastructure. We’re the first sub-national governments to build and operate an airport efficiently.
“I think we’re the first sub-national government in West Africa to own an airline and that airline traverses the entire Nigeria and in the coming few days, in October, we’ll be establishing regional flights from Uyo.
“So, investors can seize that opportunity to invest in agriculture in Akwa Ibom”, he said.
The Governor said he had separated the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, and mandated the Ministry of Water Resources to begin to work out modalities to improve on the irrigation farming.
Eno said he was recently in Benin Republic where he signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Songhai farms and “the idea really, is to train small farm holders into adopting modern agric practices.
“So, we’re setting up a Songhai farm in Akwa Ibom and we’re recruiting young people are trying to make agric fashionable for the young people. So, they are paid the salaries, trained and then allowed to go and establish and run their farms.
“The government is also thinking ahead by providing storage facilities for these farmers that we are bringing on board.
“And let me also say that apart from the education in terms of regulation, just last week, before we departed for this meeting, we clamped down on some companies”, he stated.
Speaking in an interview at the event, Sen. Abdulaziz Yar’dua, Chairman, Senate Committee on Nigerian Army, said the event was important to Nigeria because it discussed challenges faced my rural farmers and way forward.
“So, it is important to attract financing, investment and also ensure that certain processes are put in place so that our farmers, rural farmers can have very good harvest.
“We’re doing everything possible in Nigeria to ensure that all the things that are needed within the agriculture value chain are provided to the farmers but most importantly.
“This event and this session that I attended, which involves attracting international financing, is to ensure that our rural farmers are given access to finance”, Yar’dua said.
He recalled that in last administration, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had to be involved in getting the rural farmers access finance.
“You know the Nigerian financial institutions were not interested in giving access to finance to our rural farmers, basically because they believe agriculture is not a business and they believe they cannot quickly get profit out of that.
“So, in the last administration, the government had to involve the CBN through the Anchor Borrowers scheme to ensure that our rural farmers are having access to finance.
“With this international financing investment, I think it will add value to what is existing in Nigeria to ensure that our rural farmers get access to finance, get capacity, get knowledge of modern agriculture”, he said.
The s5enator said it is important for farmers to understand that agriculture is a business.
“We need to build their capacity in order to ensure that they reap maximum benefit in what they do.
“So that it does not stop just at subsistence farming that we do only during the rainy season but that will be an all year round funding for our rural farmers and once you engage rural communities, of course, the economy will improve the gross domestic product of the country will improve”, he said.
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