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Niger Delta

Green Carnival: C’River To Plant 4.2m Trees

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The Cross River State Government has commenced the planting of trees across the state and its environs to enable the state to have 4.2million trees planted before the end of the month.
To this end, the State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, is expected to issue an Executive Order compelling all landlords in the state to plant at least four trees in their compound each.
Flagging off the initiative tagged ‘Green Carnival’ at the Freedom Park in Calabar, Governor Ayade stated that this year’s Green Carnival, which is themes ‘Go Green , ’ is aimed at providing a cover for the state even as he stressed that the Executive Order will be followed by a legislation.
”We are going to have an Executive Order which would be followed by a law to the House of Assembly mandating every single landlord to plant a minimum of four trees per house.
“This will provide enough tree cover because when we had the last storm in Calabar most roofs were blown off.
“If we had these trees it would have saved us the agony of trying to fix our houses.
“We want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and it is our responsibility to ensure that at no time do you drive through the streets of Calabar and have the sun at the back of your car.
“The top of your car should go through a canopy and this programme is intended to actually start the planting of trees,” Prof. Ayade said.
Ayade while speaking on illegality perpetrated by illegal loggers who had on several occasions invaded the state forests, he averred that his administration was going to liase with the State House of Assembly to review the forestry laws.
The state governor maintained that the state has reached a point where government has to move from absolute conservation to forest management where continuous planting of trees are guaranteed.
“Because of the massive invasion of our forest by illegal loggers we are going into consultation with the House of Assembly to perhaps move from absolute conservation to forest management.
“We are going to review our forest laws to guarantee continuous planting of trees and not having to wait for the annual green carnival to plant trees,” he added.
The G overnor stated that his administration has acquired a tree transplanter to enable the government transplant trees from one part of the state to another.
Also speaking at the occasion, Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Mfon Bassey, stressed that the drive of the state to achieve a green economy has come to stay.
The commissioner lauded Ayade for putting in place policies and programmes like the Green Carnival to preserve the green economy of the state in order to guarantee healthy living.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Eno Sacks Commissioner For Special Duties

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Akwa Ibom State Governor, Umo Eno has relieved the Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr Bassey Okon, of his appointment with immediate effect.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr Enobong Uwah, disclosed this in a statement in Uyo on Monday.
Uwah, who did not give reasons for the commissioner’s sack, directed him to hand over all state government properties in his possession to the Permanent Secretary.
He thanked the former commissioner for the period he served the state, and wished him well in his future endeavours.

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Niger Delta

Check Oil Pollution In N’Delta, Stakeholders Urge Oil Firms

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Stakeholders in host communities have demanded that oil companies be compelled to address adverse health impact of oil exploration in the Niger-Delta.
They made their position known on Monday during a public presentation of the research report on the impact of oil extraction on women’s health in Otuabagi community in Bayelsa.
The Tide’s source reports that Dr Emem Okon, Director, Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, an NGO, championed the event.
The source also reports that Otuabagi Community within the Oloibiri District in present Ogbia Local Government Area is where crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Okon said the report highlighted the adverse consequences of oil extraction which had profound negative impact on health and livelihood of women in Otuabagi community.
She said research revealed that several of the participants had hydrocarbons in their blood sample more than World Health Organisation (WHO) threshold and therefore demanded for compensation from oil companies and government.
“There is, therefore, a need to demand for compensation and restoration of polluted sites as well as health actions to keep us alive and to resist death, poverty and injustice”, she said.
She stated that the findings and data would serve as a tool for policy makers, community leaders and all those who strove for a more equitable and sustainable future.
Meanwhile, Dr Bieye Briggs, a public health physician and head of the research team, said from the findings of the report, it was revealed that there was very high and unacceptable level of exposure of the people to hydrocarbons.
Briggs advocated for the Federal Government to carry out health audit in Otuabagi community and other oil producing areas in the Niger-Delta region.
He explained that such audit was with a view to instituting intervention program to halt and reverse the impact of oil exploration.
Similarly, Chief Daniel Amangi, the traditional ruler of Otuabagi community, commended Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre for undertaking the project and urged the Federal Government to focus on developing the community.
Amangi also called for the immediate implementation of the recommendations of the research findings for the overall benefit of the people.
In the same vein, Alagoa Morris, a stakeholder, lamented that life expectancy was lower in the Niger-Delta region than in other parts of the country due to the hazards caused by oil exploration.
He called for compensation to be paid to host communities to ameliorate the health impact of oil extraction in the region.
The ceremony also featured a drama presentation by Otuabagi women and panel discussion on the findings of the report.

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Niger Delta

Court Orders AAU Graduate’s Car, iPhone’s Forfeiture To FG

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A Benin High Court on Monday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to sell a Toyota Venza 2012 model, recovered from a graduate of Biochemistry from Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Osadolor Edomwonyi.
The EFCC charged Edomwonyi with internet fraud.
Delivering judgment, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba, sentenced Edomwonyi to three years imprisonment.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of an iPhone 13 Promax, recovered from the convict .
He also ordered that balances in his Opay account, Kids Bank account and Access Bank with which he was charged and convicted to the Federal Government through EFCC and the accounts be parmanently closed.
The convict prayed the court for a plea bargain agreement.
Ikponmwonba, however, gave him an option of fine in the sum of N100,000.
Earlier, the EFCC counsel, Mr I K Agwaisaid, said the convict committed an offence contrary to the provisions of Sections 6 and 8 (b) of the advance free fraud and other fraud-related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act.
The prosecutor said in a plea bargain agreement, Edomwonyi pleaded guilty to the one-count charge of possession of fraudulent documents.

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