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NDDC Not Created For Ijaws Alone, IYC Cautions

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The Forums of Ijaw Youth Council has said that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), was not created for the people of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the region alone, stating that the commission was to cater for the development of all the groups in the Niger Delta.

The zonal and chapter chairmen of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide also denied calling for the removal of the newly appointed Sole Administrator, NDDC, Effiong Akwa, and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

It would be recalled that in a protest letter purportedly addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Forum of IYC Zonal and Chapter Chairmen (FIZCC) threatened to shut down the headquarters of the NDDC if the demand for the removal of Akwa and Akpabio was not met within seven days.

However, the Chairman of FIZCC, Henry Oyobolo, and the Secretary of the forum, James Tobin, who were said to have appended their signatures to the letter, denied it.

Oyobolo, who is also the chairman, IYC Lagos zone, and Tobin, who heads the Eastern zone, disassociated themselves from the call for immediate sacking of Akwa and Akpabio.

In a letter of disclaimer addressed to the Office of the President, the duo said: “We hereby use this medium to disassociate ourselves (chairmen of IYC Zonal and Chapters’ Forum) from any publication being circulated by some persons or groups asking for the immediate sacking of the newly appointed sole administrator of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the immediate removal of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio”.

Also, another group, the Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) observed unwarranted protests in some sections of the oil-rich region over Akwa’s appointment.

In a statement signed by is Coordinator, Lambert Olambo, the WPI stated it was disturbing that most of the demonstrations, including the recent blockade of the Mbiama axis of the East-West Road was by the Ijaw-speaking part of the region.

Olambo said while other ethnic nationalities in the region appeared to have aligned themselves with the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to first clean up the NDDC before empanelling a new board, some Ijaw stakeholders had become a willing tool to frustrate the arrangement.

He said, “Why is it that only a section of the Ijaw is opposed to Mr. President’s decision? Our investigations reveal that those opposed to Akwa’s appointment are doing so out of ethnic bias. They believe that they can only support such appointment if it comes from Ijaw.

“These same people supported Keme Pondei’s appointment to lead the dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC without asking for a new board despite financial profligacy against that committee. They did so because they believe that Pondei is from Ijawland.

“WPI is opposed to this kind of nepotic and tribalistic thinking. As progressives, Niger Delta is not all about Ijaw alone. NDDC was not created for only Ijaw. We have many other ethnic nationalities in the region, and we as Ijaw need to unite with all of them and build bridges across them for effective solidarity and better bargaining power.”

They, however, backed the council for asking the Federal Government to appoint a substantive managing director and a board to run the affairs of the NDDC.

 

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Reps Urge FG To Revisit School Feeding Programme

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The House of Representatives, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to revisit the school feeding programme, suspended over sundry controversies.
The National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme was a pilot programme launched in 2004 targeting 12 states to provide a nutritious midday meal to public primary school pupils in the country:
In 2016, the programme was relaunched nationally, targeting public primary school children using locally sourced ingredients to improve health, stimulate agricultural production, and boost smallholder farmers’ income.
Recall that President Bola Tinubu, on January 12, 2024, suspended all programmes of the National Social Investment Programme Agency for six weeks.
The four programmes administered by NSIPA are N- the Power Programme, Conditional Cash Transfer Programme, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, and Home Grown School Feeding Programme.
Following the adoption of the motion, the House mandated its Committees on Special Duties and Finance to invite the Ministers of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Education, and Finance to revisit the program and propose solutions for its future success.”
The House, while adopting a motion on “Urgent call to revisit school feeding policy” moved by the member representing Tarauni Federal Constituency, Kano State, Mr Muktar Zakari, noted that the philosophy behind the NHGSFP is to encourage enrollment into the public primary schools, address childhood hunger pangs, and improve their ability to concentrate, learn, and increase school attendance.
The lawmaker, a member of the New Nigeria People’s Party, lamented that “The suspension of the NHGSFP by the current administration is unsettling for several reasons, namely reduced school enrollment and attendance, compromised health and cognitive development of the children, and disruption of the income of smallholder farmers.”
He also said “Addressing the programme’s challenges is crucial, but a complete suspension may cause more harm,” noting that “It is important to find alternative solutions or efficient implementation of the NHGSFP to ensure Nigerian children continue to benefit from this important initiative.”
In his words, “The cancellation of the programme is causing an upsurge in the number of out-of-school children, posing a threat to the country’s future and leading to a high rate of crimes, insecurity, and unemployment.”

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Kogi Lauds Appeal Court’s Verdict On Ododo’s Victory

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The Kogi State Government has hailed the verdict of the Appeal Court, Abuja that yesterday uAtiku hails Supreme Court judgment on LG autonomypheld the victory of the state governor, Usman Ododo.
The state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Kingsley Fanwo, made the government’s position known in an interview with journalists shortly after the judgment was delivered in Abuja.
Fanwo described the judgment as “sound,” adding that the it represents “echoes of the indisputable victory” of the governor at the poll.
He said the governor remains unwavering in his faith in the judiciary.
The conmissioner said, “Today’s judgment represents echoes of our victory on November 11, 2023. We campaigned round the state and worked hard to reassure the people that our party is the most reliable to take the state forward.
“November 11 will continue to be remembered in Kogi as the day that Kogites across the senatorial districts united to speak with one voice, birthing a resounding victory for the incumbent governor.
“Today’s verdict has offered another great opportunity for those who lost at the poll and in the courts to join the governor in moving the state forward.”
Fanwo said the court case did not in any way slow governance down as the governor has continued to “roll up his sleeves and deliver democracy dividends to the great people of the state.
“The jubilation that greeted the verdict affirming the victory of the Chief Servant of Kogi is a demonstration of the triumph of the people’s will.”
He urged the people of the state to continue to support the governor to make the state the Confluence of Excellence.

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Insecurity: Reps Want Modern Technology Deployed In Nation’s Borders

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The House of Representatives has called on the Nigeria Customs Service to deploy modern technology to secure the nation’s borders with neighbouring countries.
The directive followed the adoption of a motion on “Need to employ the use of modern technology to secure the nation’s borders,” sponsored by the member representing Awka North/Awka South Federal Constituency, Anambra State, Obiageli Orogbu at Thursday’s plenary.
Consequently, the Reps mandated “The Nigeria Customs Service to beef up the nation’s border security with modern technological gadgets.”
It also directed its Committees on National Security and Intelligence and Customs and Excise to “Interface with the relevant agencies of the executive arm to ensure implementation and report back to the House within four weeks for further legislative action.”
Leading the debate, Orogbu said that there are over 320 illegal routes into Nigeria “That serves as horrendous channels for the influx of inadmissible aliens and goods.
“Nigeria at the moment lacks sufficient security personnel to safeguard the existing illegal routes across the borders. These unmanned routes provide avenues for insecurity, proliferation of arms, and dumping of unwholesome goods into the country;
“The porous borders have provided an impetus to the thriving drug and human trafficking routes all over the country.”
Justifying the significance of the motion, the Labour Party chieftain noted that, “Border policing has since shifted from the mundane use of only human beings to the deployment of sophisticated electronic based equipment for potency.
“The deployment of technologies like electronic sensors, video monitors, and night vision scopes to detect illegal entries has proved more effective in western countries than human security.
“Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, (drones) and dark fighter cameras are available to further enhance border controls,” she added.

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