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#EndSARS: Damage To Property In C’River Shocks Senate

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The Senate Joint Committee on National Security & Intelligence, Defense, Police Affairs and Judiciary and Legal Matters, on Tuesday, visited Calabar, Cross River State capital, to assess the level of damage to property in the state during the October 2020 nationwide #EndSARS riot.
Led by its Chairman, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, the Committee expressed shock and sadness at the level of destruction of both public and private property in the state, while the mayhem lasted, almost one year ago.
The Committee visited several places including the Tinapa Lake Resort, the Calabar International Convention Centre located at Summit Hills, the Calabar Garment Factory, Ayade Industrial Park, Federal Psychiatric Hospital and the World Health Organization (WHO) office, amongst others.
Speaking when the Committee paid a visit to Governor Ben Ayade, shortly after inspecting the damaged properties, Senator Gobir said members of his committee were “saddened by the event and especially the mindless level of destruction visited on all the properties we saw.”
The Committee chairman said the committee felt the need to visit the state and see things for themselves before concluding its report.
“Immediately we landed, our first port of call was Tinapa and what we saw was unbelievable because we never expected that kind of destruction we saw in that place.”
Gobir recalled that he was “in Tinapa some years back and I know the kind of things you could find in Tinapa because what was there was second to none in this country, but unfortunately when we went there yesterday, the situation was so bad and the destruction was so much.”
Lamenting, the Chairman said: “Sometimes we wonder why people should go to that extent. But because people are senseless they tend to sabotage or go on that kind of wanton destruction.”
In spite of the gloom, the Senator said its members could not help but notice the scale of industrialisation undertaken by the governor.
“Despite all these, we have seen the kind of development through industrialisation under your watch and of course, we are not surprised because you are a man of intellectual capacity,” Senator Gobir stated.
Thanking the Committee for its evaluation tour of the state, Governor Ayade, who described the attacks as wilful, vicious and mindless, lamented that “for the little intellectual money we have struggled to be able to push in value, some people came in and destroyed everything.”
“We have people on video while destroying saying: ‘Let’s see how Cross River will be boasting about their Tinapa, let’s see how they will be talking of this Industrial park’. Truly, the highest destruction in the whole country was in Cross River, as most of our assets including our piles and pylon factory which you could not go because it is in far away Akamkpa were destroyed.
“It is the major factory that will build the sub-structure for the deep seaport. So there was somebody behind the strategic attack because even the looting they did was just too much. All the persons arrested in connection with the violence happen to be non-indigenes.
“When we did door to door search, the people in whom we found some of our looted assets were linked to a certain ethnic nationality. So, for us as a state, it is like we lost a whole generation”, Governor Ayade bemoaned.
According to Ayade, “What happened in Cross River State during the EndsSARS was something I will say was not natural because when the protest started across the country, Calabar and indeed, Cross River was totally at peace. I, therefore, took proactive steps by putting out broadcast offering scholarships to all indigenes of the state in the Cross River State University of Technology, including announcing massive programs of incentives.
“I spoke to the youths, encouraged them to be cautious that Cross River State was the state with the least federal allocation. I told them that the destruction would hurt us as a state.
“In one of our security meetings we were told that there was a team of people who were going to come through the waters to come and attack us because they think it was an embarrassment that everywhere else was burning except Calabar,” the governor explained.

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A’Ibom Plans 486 Rural Road Repairs To Boost Agric

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Akwa Ibom State Government has pledged to rehabilitate 486 rural roads across the three senatorial districts of the state to create accessible links between the rural areas and the urban centres.
State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Offiong Offor, disclosed this in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, during a ministerial briefing on Arise Scorecard Season 1.0, tagged: “Food Security and Sufficiency”.
She said the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project, sponsored by the State Government, in collaboration with the World Bank and French Development Agency, would open up the rural areas, where agricultural activities are mainly carried out.
At the briefing were the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Ini Ememobong, the Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr. Emem Bob, and the Chairman of the Bulk Purchase Agency, Mr Dan Akpan.
Offor said, “When the rural roads are fixed, there will be a reduction in post-harvest losses, as farm produce will be easily conveyed to the urban areas.
The Commissioner highlighted the government’s commitment to food production through the distribution of farm inputs to different farmers and cooperative groups, adding that the AK-CARES project is another state government intervention, also in collaboration with the World Bank, which has contributed to poverty alleviation, hunger eradication and reducing the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
She emphasized the importance of cooperative groups in increasing food production, adding that when people come together, they crossbreed ideas, easily access finance, and stand a better chance of having more resources for production as group farming was encouraged over individual farming.
The commissioner said the Young Farmers Club has been revived in public schools to foster interest and participation of students in farming activities.
“Governor Eno has supported public secondary schools and boarding schools in providing food for their students, by giving them farm inputs”, she said.
On his part, the Information Commissioner, Comrade Ememebong, underscored the significance of the briefing in effectively communicating the government’s efforts towards achieving food sufficiency and addressing multi-dimensional poverty, particularly in rural areas.
The Commissioner for Economic Development, Mr. Bob, said the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the removal of petroleum subsidy by the President Boka Ahmed Tinubu-led administration prompted the idea of the AK-CARES project to support vulnerable households and farmers across the state.
Bob disclosed that the state social register has about 2.3 million vulnerable households, who will benefit from the Bulk Purchase Intervention.
Consultant to the Governor on Media, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, commended the initiatives on food availability, affordability, and stability.
Umanah urged Akwa Ibom people to embrace farming and support the government’s investment in agriculture.
Throwing more light on the essence of the Bulk Purchase Intervention, the chairman of the agency, Rt. Hon. Dan Akpan assured the public of the quality of food items distributed and called for the people’s support for the intervention to succeed.

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HYPREP’s Livelihood Training: Dana Air Employs Three Ogoni Youths

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Dana Airline has offered automatic employment to three Ogoni youths to work in the company as cabin crew members.
The beneficiaries were among the 13 first batch trainees tutored and trained by Crew Training Institute (CTI) in Lagos under the sponsorship of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project(HYPREP).
The three beneficiaries emerged winners in a keenly contested cabin crew recruitment exercise organised by HYPREP in conjunction with the Crew Training Institute and Dana Air at T-Fad Hotel and Resort in Wiiyaakana Community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State last Friday.
Those Dana Air offered automatic employment clinched the first, second and third positions out of the 13 contestants, while a subsidiary airline equally offered automatic employment to other contestants who emerged fourth and fifth, thus, bringing the number of Ogoni youths who secured employment at the event to five.
While Dana Air presented appointment letters to the three beneficiaries on the spot, the other two beneficiaries were given assurance by the subsidiary company that theirs were on the way.
The winners of the cabin crew contest are Mr Meneyii King Barisua from Khana Local Government Area; Miss Grace Wealth B. Agon-Ngbor from Tai Local Government Area; and Miss Domale Badom from Gokana Local Government Area.
Others are Miss Nnyeomah Constance Nwagor from Eleme Local Government Area; and Mr Miracle Nnutam from Tai Local Government Area.
In his welcome address, the Project Coordinator of HYPREP, Prof Nenibarini Zabbey said the recruitment exercise holds immense significance to HYPREP and the entire Ogoni community, adding that it “marks a pivotal moment in our collective effort to create alternative livelihood as we restore the traditional livelihoods of the Ogoni people, as this is a key mandate of HYPREP, and we are committed to it.”
According to him, “We are not just here to recruit cabin crew members but also to create pathways to empowerment, ignite dreams and build futures”.
He said HYPREP’s partnership with Crew Training Institute and Dana Air symbolises the power of collaboration.
“Through this collaboration, we provide training and job opportunities and invest in the potentials of Ogoni youths, equipping them with skills that will open doors in a world of possibilities”, he said, stressing that the recruitment exercise was an opportunity for the trainees to showcase their passion, dedication and the potential to soar to new heights.
According to him, each of the beneficiaries brings a unique story; a unique set of skills; and a unique vision for the future.
Zabbey disclosed that HYPREP has so far trained 29 Ogoni youths in cabin crew operations while 19 have been certified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority( NCAA), adding that 55 others have been trained in ticketing, flight dispatch and customer service.
While congratulating the beneficiaries, the Project Coordinator urged them to embrace the opportunity offered them with confidence and determination, knowing that they have the support of HYPREP.
He reminded them that HYPREP is becoming a rallying point for the Ogoni people, and, therefore, urged them to own and protect the Project.
Said he, “We are committed to doing things differently.On this note, we are actively exploring areas of collaboration with relevant organisations to create opportunities for employment and further mentorship. We are working hard to ensure that our beneficiaries, upon completing their training programmes, are supported, and this gathering today, shows our commitment.”
He noted that the recruitment exercise was one of the extra steps HYPREP is taking to ensure that its livelihood training beneficiaries, including the 5,000 trainees, currently training in 21 skill areas are employed or move on as capable entrepreneurs.
He said the recruitment exercise was fair, transparent and merit-based, as HYPREP is looking for individuals like the cabin crew trainees who embody the values of professionalism, empathy and resilience, qualities which are essential for the cabin crew role.
Beyond the technical skills, Zabbey noted, what truly sets a cabin crew apart is the ability to connect with people to make passengers safe, comfortable and valued, contending that a cabin crew member is an ambassador of hospitality, representing not just the airline but also warmth and hospitality of the Ogoni people.
He, therefore, charged the contestants, as they proceeded into the interview session to remember to let their personality to shine; demonstrate their passion for customer service; and show to the participants why they are the perfect fit for the cabin crew role.
The Project Coordinator also admonished the beneficiaries thus, “And regardless of the outcome of the recruitment exercise, they should know that today is just the beginning of their journey. Be confident and know that opportunities abound, and with the right attitude and determination, you can achieve anything you set your mind on.”
He also urged them to make good use of all HYPREP had provided them, including cabin crew training; international passports; and the NCAA certification.
He thanked the Minister of Environment and the Chairman of HYPREP’s Governing Council, Hon Balarabe Abbas Lawal for his progressive leadership and other stakeholders including the media for their support.
In his goodwill message, the spokesman of CRAC and Gbenemene of the Ancient Bangha Kingdom, King Suanu Baridam said he was honoured as an Ogoni King to be part of the cabin crew recruitment exercise, adding that sponsoring a cabin crew recruitment exercise as a way of giving back to the community and empowering the youths in Ogoniland is a commendable initiative by HYPREP.
According to him, by providing opportunities for local youths to join the cabin crew, HYPREP is not only supporting individuals but also contributing to the economic empowerment and growth of the community.
He said empowering the youths through employment opportunities in the aviation industry can have far-reaching benefits, including skills development, job creation and increased economic stability. stressing that by sponsoring the recruitment exercise, HYPREP is investing in the future of the community and helping to build a skilled workforce that can contribute to the sustainable development of Ogoniland.
The monarch noted that linking the recruitment exercise to the environmental remediation efforts of HYPREP can help raise awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability among the youths, stressing that this can inspire a sense of responsibility and stewardship towards the environment, creating a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who can actively contribute to the preservation of Ogoniland.
Also speaking, Dana Air’s Head of Human Resources, Mr Clinton E. applauded HYPREP for its bold initiative in empowering Ogoni youths, saying it can, however, do more.
On his part, a member of HYPREP’s Governing Council, Comrade Celestine AkpoBari expressed delight that an Ogoni daughter who is the Proprietress of Crew Training Institute is making tremendous impact in the aviation industry, and commended the Project Coordinator for ensuring that HYPREP is exploring vast opportunities beyond the pedestrian level of providing menial jobs to Ogoni people.
He said under the watch of the Project Coordinator, HYPREP is making it possible today for Ogoni sons and daughters to go abroad to study through the sponsorship of the agency.

By: Donatus Ebi

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Indorama Denies Alleged Environmental Pollution

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Indorama Petro-chemical Limited has debunked a write-up allegedly circulated in the media by a group known as Alliance for the Eleme Defence that its operations are hazardous to the environment.
The Head, Corporate Communications of Indorama-Nigeria, Dr. Jossy Nkwocha, stated this after conducting newsmen on facility tour of the company at Eleme, last Friday.
He said it was necessary for the company to debunk the allegation in the media space, because Alliance for the Defence of Eleme had circulated a write-up to some media houses to mislead the general public.
“Recently, a group of persons by the name “Alliance for the Defence of Eleme” circulated a write-up to some media houses, supposedly sent to International Finance Corporation (IFC), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Emerging African Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), stating that the funding agencies have committed financial assistance to Indorama for various projects in Nigeria.
“They went further to state that ‘it is crucial for you to be aware that there is a subsisting court order at the Federal High Court Port Harcourt with Suit No. FHC/PH/ CS/23/2024, restraining Indorama from further pollution of our environment’.
“As a responsible corporate organisation, we do not intend to make comments on a matter in court but since the above-mentioned group of persons have already put it in the public space through the media, we just wish to publicly reassure our financial partners, government agencies, host communities, and other stakeholders that our operations are environment-friendly and have been operated under national and international standards”, he said.
Nkwocha stated that the exparte order which only required Indorama to ensure that its operations did not lead to the pollution of the environment pending the determination of the motion on notice had expired.
According to him, “on the 17th April, 2024 when the matter came up, the court ordered parties to file pleadings and made no reference to any order, because as of the moment, there is no subsisting order whatsoever against Indorama”.
He reiterated the company’s commitment to safe and healthy environment by implementing effective environment management system as an integral part of its operations.
“To achieve our commitment, we have implemented a robust Environment Management and Monitoring System, and the environment performance is acknowledged by Regulators and Lenders”, he added.
Nkwocha said that it was mischievous and misleading for anyone to circulate such a mendacious write-up to the general public through the mass media and supposedly to company’s financial partners.

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