The Bayelsa State Government has directed local government councils to set up credible vigilante teams in every community in their areas to work closely with the police and other security agencies in the state.
The state deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the directive at separate meetings with traditional rulers from Kolokuma/Opokuma and Yenagoa Local Government Areas in Government House, Yenagoa.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, said the expanded meeting had in attendance service commanders together with House of Assembly members, Commissioners and chairmen from the two local government areas.
The statement quoted the Deputy Governor as restating the present administration’s zero tolerance stance on cultism, banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the state.
While assuring the councils of the state government’s assistance towards strengthening community-based vigilante groups in the fight against crime and criminality, Senator Ewhrudjakpo called on the police to properly profile members of such groups to check sabotage.
He said necessary modalities would be worked out with the councils to maintain the vigilantes across the eight local government areas in the state.
The deputy governor also said government had set in motion the machinery to revamp and relaunch its Operation Doo Akpo security outfit to fight crime and insecurity.
He called on the traditional rulers and other community leaders to cooperate with security agencies as well as start the implementation of government’s directive on profiling of visitors and nonindigenes in their communities.
”This meeting is to appraise the security situation in our communities and discuss how we can strengthen our security machinery. That is why all the service commanders including the Commissioner of Police are here.
“All hands must be on deck to build a safe and stable Bayelsa State. From this September, we want you to fully comply with the Bayelsa State Government’s directive to register all strangers coming into your communities.
“On our part as a government, we are ready and will continue to defend our zero tolerance towards cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping and other forms of crimes.
“The Governor and I never came into office aided by cultists and criminals. So we are ready to fight them with God and every other means at our disposal. They had better change or leave Bayelsa for elsewhere.
“The police and other security agencies should step up their game. Come every community including my own Ofoni Community to get rid of those criminal elements”, the Deputy Governor said.
In their separate remarks, the monarchs of Kolokuma and Opokuma Kingdoms, King Mozi Onya Agara and King Collins Aranka, commended the state government for giving traditional rulers a sense of belonging in the governance of the state.
King Aranka, however, decried the total absence of police presence in the entire Opokuma clan and requested the urgent establishment of a police post in the area.
Also speaking, the Amananaowei of Sabagreia Community, His Royal Highness, Sir Boukumo Orukari, appealed to government and the security agencies to establish a military checkpoint along the Igbedi Creek, which he identified as a notorious route for kidnapping.
On their part, the Ibenanaowei of Gbarain Kingdom, King Funpere Akah, and the Obenibe of Epie, King Malla Sasime, called for effective implementation of the state anti-cultism law to ensure the prosecution of arrested cultists.
While saluting the efforts of the various security agencies in the state, they however urged them to do more in policing the Yenagoa metropolis.
In their separate submissions, the service commanders including the State Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng, spelt out the dangers of harbouring criminals and urged the traditional rulers to always avail them with timely and actionable intelligence.
CP Echeng assured that a number of measures would be taken to streamline the operations of vigilante groups in the state in line with extant best practices in community policing.
Other service commanders who also spoke and gave their phone numbers to the traditional rulers include the Commander, Nigerian Army 16 Brigade, Brigadier General Olurotimi Awolo, the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Soroh Yenagoa, Commodore Patrick Effah, Commander, Sector Two, Operation Delta Safe, Colonel Yahaya Ibrahim and the state Commandant, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Mr Kupi Bako.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,
World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others
According to the bank, it is working with countries on a $12billion new projects fund for the next 15 months.
It said the projects are expected to support agriculture, social protection to cushion the effects of higher food prices, and water and irrigation projects.
It added that most of the funds would go to Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
The global bank disclosed this when it announced how it plans to be part of a comprehensive, global response to the ongoing food security crisis.
It stated that it intends to roll out this fund in existing and new projects in agriculture, nutrition, social protection, water, and irrigation.
It said, “This financing will include efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.”
World Bank Group President, David Malpass, said, “Food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
“To inform and stabilise markets, it is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Countries should make concerted efforts to increase the supply of energy and fertilizer, help farmers increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that block exports and imports, divert food to biofuel, or encourage unnecessary storage.”
The bank added that its current existing portfolio includes balances of $18.7billion in projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues, covering agriculture and natural resources, nutrition, social protection, and other sectors.
It stated, “Altogether, this would amount to over $30billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months. This response will draw on the full range of Bank financing instruments and be complemented by analytical work.”
FG Postpones FAAC Meeting Over AGF’s N80bn Probe
The sudden postponement may not be unconnected with the ongoing investigation of the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, over alleged fraud to the tune of N80billion.
The FAAC meeting is a monthly meeting where the federation allocates monthly revenue among the three tiers of government.
The meeting had earlier been scheduled to hold virtually between May 18 and 19, 2022.
The Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, said this in a letter signed by Director, Home Finance,Stephen Okon.
The ministry said the meeting was postponed due to “certain circumstances.
“I am directed to inform you that the Federation Account/Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings earlier scheduled to hold/virtually on the 18th and 19th May, 2022 have been postponed due to/certain circumstances,” the circular reads.
“In view of the foregoing, I am to further inform you that the new date for the meetings will be forwarded to you in due course.
“While we regret the inconveniences this change might cause you, please accept the assurances of the Minister’s warm regards,” the letter read in part.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on Monday arrested and detained Idris over an alleged N80billion fraud.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, announced indefinite suspension of Idris, last Wednesday.
Ahmed said the suspension “without pay” was to allow for “proper and unhindered investigation” in line with public service rules.
Nigerian Out-Of-School Children Hit 18.5m
The Chief of UNICEF Field Office in Kano, Rahama Farah, stated this at a media dialogue on ‘Girls’ Education under the Girls’ Education Project 3, GEP 3’, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and implemented by UNICEF.
“For those lucky to be in school, their condition is also not enviable given the situation of public schools in the country. Only recently, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), said 50per cent of schools in Nigeria lack basic furniture”Farah said.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Hamid Bobboyi, said this in Abuja at a one-day civil society organisations’ CSO-Legislative Roundtable Meeting where some National and State Houses of Assembly members were present.
According to him, emerging constraints in basic education delivery in the country may necessitate an increase in the consolidated revenue funds from the current two per cent to four per cent.
He buttressed his position for an increase in funding on the security challenges bedevilling the country, insisting that rising student population also poses urgent need for teaching facilities.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Basic Education, represented by Senator Frank Ibezim, decried the failure of State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs), to sustain some UBEC-initiated projects such as classrooms and libraries earlier introduced by the commission in all constituencies in the country.
While commending UBEC over the construction of classrooms in schools across the country, he lamented the poor maintenance culture, noting that there is no school in the country that does not have a dilapidated block.
A representative of MacArthur Foundation, Mr Dayo Olaoye, called on stakeholders to review the impact of the country’s annual budget on education, stressing that it was not enough that the country is increasing its budget to the sector.
“As we think about reforms, let us think beyond buildings that have been delivered, let us start thinking about how many children have been brought to school,” he said.
“If classrooms are dilapidated, and there are not enough furniture, what about teachers and the quality of the ones available? The Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, said there are over 300,000 unqualified teachers in the system.
“Education is very important to be left in the hands of quacks and that is why at TRCN, we are stepping up efforts at ridding the system of unqualified hands. We implore teachers and their employers to take advantage of the various windows TRCN is providing to improve the quality of teachers in the country so as to get better results from our education system,” he said.
For the General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Dr Mike Ene, there is need for better funding of the education sector.
He noted that in many states, teachers are overwhelmed by the number of pupils and students they handle.
“In so many states, there is inadequacy of teachers. Some states have not recruited teachers in the last 10 years and yearly, teachers are leaving the system through retirement, resignation or even death. Worse hit by poor staffing are schools in the rural areas. Such schools are called hard-to-staff schools.”
It is in that regard that the welfare packages announced by the Federal Government are very much necessary,” he said.
Also speaking on the issue, the National President of the National Association of Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, decried the manner some state governments are implementing the Basic Education Policy of the government whereby pupils and students in primary and junior secondary schools are to enjoy free education and are given textbooks in some core subjects.
“Some states are not doing well in that respect. They have abandoned the programme. They are not funding education as it ought to be funded. Even counterpart funds that some states should put down to complement the funds from UBEC are not provided. Some states have even misused UBEC funds and are suspended from getting further grants.
“We are talking now about our tertiary institutions that are grounded by workers’ strikes, the basic education level, which is the foundation, is not faring better too. Something urgent must be done to redress the situation before the sector collapses finally,” he noted.
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