A delegation from the Federal Government led by the Minister of Defence, Retired Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, Governors of the five States of the South East and other leaders of political, religious and traditional institutions in the zone rose from a closed-door meeting on the security challenges confronting the region in particular and Nigeria in general, at the Government House, Enugu, over the weekend reiterating their commitment to peace, unity and stability of the country.
Addressing newsmen after the meeting, the Defence Minister, Magashi, disclosed that the delegation will relay the commitment reached at the parley and other outcomes of the consultation to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Defence Minister, who was accompanied by his Interior Ministry counterpart and the Service Chiefs, explained that they were in Enugu for a consultative meeting with leaders of the South East zone on the issues of instability and criminality, at the instance of President Buhari.
He added that the meeting agreed that there were fundamental issues that need to be addressed in the South East region.
The leader of the Presidential delegation stated that one of the issues is the farmers/ herders conflict which, he said will “be given the necessary accord to stop this menace all over the country, from the perspective of national interest”.
Magashi revealed that the second issue they discussed was “the problem of marginalization”, stressing it “is well accepted and further discussion will continue after we have met with Mr. President to see their grievances and after the governors will articulate the grievances so that we can have further discussion on them”.
The Minister further disclosed that the delegation endorsed the Community Policing Model of the South East governors, adding that it “should be encouraged because we have set precedence in the Amotekun in the Western part of the country”.
His words: “We appreciate our discussions. We are most humbled and I think each one of us; the governors, the elders, the religious leaders were able to say one or two things.
“We would put our heads together to see that peace and stability of this nation are brought back to normalcy in no distance time.
“We are appealing to the media to report the positive side of government and encourage us to pursue legitimate ways in which we can bring peace and stability in this country”.
In an address at the meeting, the Governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of South East Governors Forum, Engr. David Umahi, on behalf of the leaders of the zone, restated their commitment to national unity, saying that “this sincere commitment is a new dawn not only to South East but to entire Nigeria”.
Commenting on the ban on open grazing, Gov. Umahi said: “Just on a very minor specifics for the emphasis of our people, we discussed the issue of ban on open grazing and of course this delegation is in support of this ban on open grazing and we also informed the delegation that each of the South East states has laws in this respect”.
The South East Governors Forum Chairman noted that the commitment of the Federal Government towards addressing all the issues pertaining to herdsmen in the South East was very important.
He stated that the governors have agreed to articulate all the grievances and concerns of the people of the South East “as spelt out by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo”, saying: “We are happy that there is genuine willingness for further dialogue on such issues”.
Gov. Umahi maintained that Ebubeagu was the only recognised local security outfit in the South East, emphasizing that “no other security outfit is speaking for South East and this is the position of Ndigbo”.
According to him, “We are committed to one united Nigeria; we have always mentioned this; all our leaders are committed to this and that is why we read it everywhere, a united Nigeria of fairness, equity and equality of freedom and this we have further expressed.
“Those who dish out hate speeches from our region, threat of violence or secession do not speak for South East. I repeat we the South East people are not for secession, we don’t support it; we don’t call for it.
“We condemn the killings of security men and innocent people in the South East and the governors are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our people. We are supporting the security agencies. We finally appeal to our people to continue to engage our youths to eschew violence”.
Earlier in his opening remark, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State described the Town Hall meeting as timely and apt, expressing optimism that the outcome of the meeting will address the security challenges in the South East zone.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who stressed the need for all government structures to uphold the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government (enshrined in the 1999 Constitution), said that the consultation with the Service Chiefs and critical stakeholders of the South East zone, on the current security challenges, “underscores the centrality of this security responsibility in our consideration”.
The Governor therefore thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for sending the Federal Government delegation to the South East to consult with the leaders of the zone.
Other South East leaders in the meeting include Governors of Abia and Imo states, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and Senator Hope Uzodinma respectively, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Hon. Uchechukwu Ogah, President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Amb. Prof. George Obiozor, former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani, Senator Ike Ekweramadu, Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Toby Okechukwu, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Edward Ubosi, former Governor of old Enugu State, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyawu, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South East among others.
By: Canice Amadi, Enugu
NDLEA Arrests 774 Suspects, Seizes 3,874.3kgs Of Drugs In Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau
The three states make the Zone D of the narcotics agency.
Zonal Commander in the zone Umoru Ambrose, said this in Lafia yesterday while marking the 2022 UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
He said 134 drug suspects were prosecuted during the period, while 378 drug users were counselled and rehabilitated.
He added that states in the zone had intensified their operations in the War against Drug Abuse and sensitisation.
Ambrose called on all stakeholders to get involved in curbing drugs menace in the zone.
In his remarks, NDLEA Commander in Nasarawa State, Peter Odaudu, said the celebrations underscored the need for access to proper treatment for people with drug disorders.
He stressed that the war against drugs must be intensified in Nasarawa State especially given its position as the second highest drug prevalence state in the North Central after Kwara.
“Statistics from the 2018 drug survey showed a very alarming trend, the involvement of females in drug issues.
“We have at least one female out of every four drug users; this development is worrisome and must be reversed,’’ he said.
Odaudu thanked Nasarawa State’s Governor Abdullahi Sule for his support for the NDLEA and solicited urgent intervention in the provision of operational vehicles and the construction of a rehabilitation centre.
Guest speaker, Mr Nwora Okpalaeke, who is coordinator of the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria in Nasarawa State, said 494,000 users died of drug abuse in 2019.
He spoke on “Illicit Drugs in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’’
He said drug abusers suffered liver cirrhosis, stroke, hepatitis, kidney and heart failure, noting that 14.3 million Nigerians are drug addicts, while three million are suffering from drug-related disorders.
“Government should strengthen the system to prevent proliferation of drugs and pay attention to agencies charged with reversing the situation.
“Drug abuse affects economic growth; the higher the abuse the higher the level of insecurity and poverty,’’ he said.
Senior Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare to Governor Sule, Margaret Elayo, commended the NDLEA in the state and assured of partnership to curb drug abuse in Nasarawa State.
The theme for this year’s celebration of the Day is: “Addressing Drug Challenges in Health and Humanitarian Crises.’
NDLEA Arrests 218 Suspects, Seizes 1,471.314kg Of Drugs In Imo
The agency has also seized 1,471.314kg of drugs between July 2021 and June 2022.
The state commandant, NDLEA, Mr. Reuben Apeh, disclosed this while speaking to The Tide ahead of this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drugs Trafficking.
He said that 1,458.49kg of Cannabis Sativa, 1,0513kg of cocaine, 0.2077kg of Heroine, 3.896kg of Methamphetamine and 3.184kg of Tramadol were exhibits seized within the period under review.
Apeh disclosed further that cannabis farm in hectares was also destroyed in Imo State while 0.5278kg of Rohypnol and 2.5135kg of diazepam were among the seized exhibits.
He stated that some of the arrested suspects had been arraigned and convicted for drug related offences at the Federal High Court.
According to him, “Within the period covered, 51 were convicted and 145 were charged and their cases are still on going”.
Apeh described the drug situation in Imo State as worrisome, saying women have joined the illicit trade for financial gains.
He lamented that drug peddling was alarming among the younger generation in the state.
He, therefore, called on the stakeholders to partner with NDLEA to sensitize the society on the dangers of drug abuse.
By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri
NDE Trains 750 Youths On Apprenticeship Skills In Imo
Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Nuhu-Fikpo, made this known while flagging off the training programme in Owerri, the Imo State capital.
The Tide reports that the training is captured under the Advanced National Open Apprenticeship Scheme (A-NOAS) and Basic National Apprenticeship Scheme (B-NOAS) of the Directorate’s Department of Vocational Skills Development (VSD).
The training skills include barbing, basic tailoring, hairdressing, welding, event planning, make- up, confectionery and auto mechanic, among others.
Nuhu-Fikpo, represented by the State Coordinator of the NDE in Imo State, Mrs Ngozi Ihenacho, explained that the trainees include youths and women drawn from the 27 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the intensive training programme will take place in the Directorate’s training centres, one in each senatorial district of the state, and last for three months.
He urged the trainees to utilise the opportunity provided by the training programme to acquire viable skills that would enable them become self-reliant, and thereby decongest the labour market, and reduce poverty and hunger.
“In today’s world, opportunities such as these are rare and hardly come on a platter and I urge you, my dear beneficiaries, to take this opportunity serious, be punctual at the training venue with the aim of liberating yourselves from the chains of poverty and unemployment”, he advised.
Also speaking at the programme, Director of the VSD, Mallam Isa Abdu, explained that the training scheme would run simultaneously, with the beneficiaries receiving transport allowances for the duration of training.
Abdu, represented by a senior staff in VSD, Mr Onyekwelu Igwesi, said that expert trainers had been hired to conduct the training and urged the trainees to justify the opportunity given them to become employers of labour.
“All over the world, as the value of money depreciates, entrepreneurs are adjusting with the times, hence the need for viable skills that can drive the economy. Learn the skills and be your own boss”, he said.
One of the trainees, Miss Oluchi Uchenna, who responded on behalf of his colleagues, thanked the NDE for creating the opportunity for them to thrive in their quest to become economically independent.
By: Joe Nwachukwu, Owerri
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