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Reps Move To Protect Child Rights

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The House of Representatives has begun the process of eradicating child destitution and child rights violations in the country with a public hearing to harvest stakeholders’ contributions for the process.
The event, which held in Abuja yesterday was carried out by the House Committee on Poverty Alleviation.
The hearing was on the motion, “Need to Eradicate Child Destitution and Remove Beggars from Nigerian Streets through Provision of Standardised Education System and Improved Livelihood”.
Declaring the event open, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, recalled that in 2003, the Child Rights Act was assented to by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The Speaker, however, said that unfortunately, 17 years later some 11 states had yet to enact the law to protect children in the states.
According to him, the Child Rights Act is the basis upon which the Nigerian child ought to be protected and its implementation meant a lot to the future of the Nigerian state.
Gbajabiamila said that in addition to the Child Rights Act, the Universal Basic Education Act was also to make provision for compulsory, free universal basic education for all children of primary and junior secondary school age in the country.
The lawmaker said that the Act further sought to provide punishment for parents who failed to comply with its provisions.
“It is for the reason of ensuring improved welfare and acting in the best interest of the Nigerian child that this motion was considered by the House in plenary.
“And, thereafter, the motion was referred to the Standing Committee on Poverty Alleviation for today’s public hearing.
“This hearing, therefore, seeks to obtain and aggregate submissions from various stakeholders to assist the Legislature foster ways of protecting the rights of the child to education, basic needs and overall access to all they need to have a good life.
“The notion, canvassed by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) that about 13.2 million Nigerian children are out of school, is no doubt worrisome.
“It presents a clear picture of the 21st and  22nd Century Nigeria where a large part of the population or labour force may not be employable,” he said.
Gbajabiamila added that he was positive that the discussions that would ensue would be rich and contribute immensely in assisting the Legislature to intervene adequately.
He enjoined all the participants to consider the issue of child destitution as one that required urgent steps.
According to the Speaker, it is like a keg of gun powder waiting to explode; it requires urgent steps to tackle the obvious menace.
“At the end of the day, it is expected that we shall all come to consensus as to where we need to take further actions that will see us embracing those decisions that are in the
best interests of the child,” the speaker said.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Abdulahi Salem (APC- Sokoto), said that the public hearing was organised to further consider the plight of the street child.
He said that the hearing was organised in fulfilment of the legislative procedure that was required to assist in taking far-reaching and adequate resolutions on the issue of child destitution and street begging.
According to Salem, there is no gainsaying the fact that the twin issues of child destitution and street begging are those that have come to stare us right in the face today.
“This means that the quicker we find solutions to these problems, the better for our society.
“The fact that in addition to the legislative interventions taken to address these issues, this motion is coming at a time when it has become imperative to enforce all statutory provisions concerning the protection of the Nigerian child, including poverty reduction strategies.
“l thank the mover of the motion and pledge on behalf of my colleagues to restate our commitment toward poverty alleviation in the country,” he said.
Mr Salam Abdulrazak, Director, Community Development Sources and Special Projects, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), recommended Agro-training for the destitute.
He said that such training would go a long way to change the narrative and keep the destitute informed, while also providing education for them.
He said that the Federal and state governments could collaborate to provide land for the destitute to be engaged productively.
Abdulrazak noted that the NYSC was in a good position to implement such a programme as it was present in all local government areas with corps members to do the job.
Representatives of the National Bureau of Statistics, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), UBEC, and Alleviation Advocacy and Justice Institute participated.

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LG Chairman-Elect Blames Insecurity On Parental Failure

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Chairman-elect of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, Hon. Target Segibo has alleged that the prevalent security challenges in some communities of the local government area could be traceable to parental failure on one hand, and frivolous lifestyle of children and wards involved in crime and criminality in the area on the other hand.
Segibo, who was a pioneer member of the State House of Assembly between 1999-2003, stated this in Yenagoa, the state capital recently while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after receiving his Certificate of Return from the Bayelsa State Independent Electoral Commission (BYSIEC).
He indicated his continued desire to work for the peace and rapid socio-economic development of the local government, noting that having been actively involved in the politics of the area for decades now, he was more grounded in working on modalities towards ensuring enduring peace and unity in troubled communities of the area.
The Chairman-elect who also lauded the state governor, Senator Douye Diri, the state’s leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the electorate for finding him worthy to be elected Chairman of the local government, called on parents/guardiance not to renege on their primary responsibilities of watching over their children and wards, arguing that as the largest local government area in the state, Southern Ijaw should also be noted for peace and development.
“For over 20 years, I’ve been living peacefully with all my neighbours, both at home in Oporoma, headquarters of Southern Ijaw LGA and here, in Yenagoa.
“I’ve grown up children, but I don’t give them more than what they needed as students to go to school and stay okay as a father because I discovered that most of the security challenges we’re facing today in the Southern Ijaw LGA, and other parts of the state, is traceable to parental failure and children’s wanting to lead a frivolous lifestyle”, he said.
“As parents/guardians we should be able to know the kind of friends our children/wards keep. We must not pamper them. We must tell them that they have to do something legal to earn a living. We must question any source of sudden wealth and affluence on the part of our children and wards.
“But I want to assure our people of Southern Ijaw that as their incoming Chairman, when I’m sworn-in, having been actively participating in the politics and other activities of the area, collectively we’ll work to ensure enduring peace, unity and development of the LGA”, he added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Bayelsa Assembly Grills, Confirms Diri’s Commissioner- Nominees 

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The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has screened and confirmed the first batch of Commissioner-nominees for Governor Diri’s second term State Executive Council.
The Tide gathered that the State Chief Executive in a bid to form his cabinet for his second tenure had earlier submitted a list of 14 names to the state legislature for confirmation as commissioners.
However, The Tide reports that only 13 out of the 14 nominees attended the constitutional exercise of the lawmakers.
Though no official reasons have been given, the immediate past Commissioner for Sports, who is also a former member of the state Assembly, Hon. Daniel Igali, was conspicuously absent during the screening exercise.
Inline with the House’s rules and Standing Orders, two other former members of the state Assembly who were also part of the nominees, Dr Gentle Emelah, immediate past Commissioner for Education, and Mrs Ebiwou Koku-Obiyai, were simply asked to take a bow and leave.
Following the exhaustive grilling, however, the immediate past Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr Biriyai  Dambo, SAN, his Finance counterpart, Mr Maxwell Ebibai, were confirmed.
Also confirmed were the immediate past Works and Infrastructure Commissioner, Moses Teibowei, Mrs Koku Obiyai, Dr Gentle Emelah, Ayibakipreye Brodericks, George Ekpotuatein Flint and Komuko Akari Kharim.
Furthermore, Mr Perepuighe Biewari, Dr Jones Ebieri, Barr. Peter Afagha, Mrs Bidei Elizabeth and Michael Magbisa received the nod to be appointed commissioners by the state lawmakers.
In his advice to the nominees shortly after their screening, Deputy Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Michael Ogbere, enjoined the Commissioner hopefuls to work as a team with those they will meet on ground, admonishing that they remain loyal to the government at all times.
On his part,  Leader of the House, Hon. Monday-Bubou Obolo, said the people of the state expect a lot trom them and that the House will do its best to keep them on their toes through its oversight functions while giving them the needed legislative support where necessary.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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NEC Meeting: PDP’ll Wax Stronger – Farah Dagogo 

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A former lawmaker representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Farah Dagogo, has described the outcome of the 98th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as another demonstration of the resilience of the party to weather any storm that comes its way.
This is contained in a statement released bythe Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the estwhile federal legislator, Ibrahim Lawal, at the weekend.
In the build up to the NEC meeting,  suggestions and permutations had been rife of the likelihood of the PDP running into another round of crises as the party tries to navigate a path for the North Central Zone to produce a substantive National Chairman to complete the truncated tenure of former Chairman, Dr. Iyiorchia Ayu.
Speaking on the sidelines of the NEC meeting that saw Umar Damagum retain his position as the party’s Acting National Chairman until the next NEC meeting scheduled for August, Dr Dagogo said those who genuinely have the best interest of the party at heart made timely sacrifices to keep the party firm and afloat.
The former member of the National Assembly said but for the political maturity and sagacity employed by the party’s National Leader and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, alongside other leaders, before and during the NEC meeting, the party would have ‘played into the hands of some individuals, who wanted the party to implode in order to improve their political fortunes’.
He expressed optimism that by the adjourned date of August, Damagum would have seen that  “it is in the best interest of the party for him to vacate the position for a more purposeful and result oriented leadership’’.
“ For me, the outcome of the NEC meeting was a win-win situation. Against all odds, the party came out unscathed and will continue to wax stronger.
“Yes, the Acting Chairman retained his position, but it is obvious to him now and others that it would be in the best interest of the party for him to vacate that position for a more purposeful and result oriented leadership by August.
“The so called tension generated in the build up to the NEC Meeting was actually orchestrated by the inordinate desire of some few individuals who wanted to thwart the sterling call by party faithful for a review of its failing leadership and directionless.
“ The Party however did not play into the hands of those individuals, who wanted the party to implode in order to improve their political fortunes. Thanks in good measure to the political maturity and sagacity employed by the Party’s National Leader and Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, alongside other leaders, before and during the NEC Meeting. We are where we are now because of their sacrifices and dedication to the party, “ he added.

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