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Tough Times Await Fresh PAP Contractors, Ex-Agitators Warn

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Ex-agitators have warned firms willing to approach the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) for contracts to brace up for tough times, saying it was no longer business as usual under the programme’s Interim Administrator, Col Milland Dixon Dikio.
The National Secretary, First Phase Ex-Agitators, Nature Dumale, explained that Dikio had not awarded new contracts since he came on board because he was interested in sanitising the process to actualise the reintegration phase of the programme.
Dumale spoke in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday, after accompanying Dikio to inspect commercial farms in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, as part of arrangements to roll out trainings for ex-agitators on agriculture.
He said the amnesty boss inherited many ex-agitators, who went through various training programmes without empowerment, noting that Dikio had evolved a new strategy of Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) to deal with the shortcomings.
Dumale said only contractors whose proposals and facilities were in line with TEM would be considered for fresh jobs in PAP.
“It is no longer business as usual. You will not get any contract from the amnesty office except due diligence are properly carried out to the satisfaction of procurement, legal, project and account departments including the Interim Administrator himself, who is a diligent man,” he said.
“The amnesty boss has come up with the vision of Train, Mentor and Employ (TEM). It is a process where any person that comes up to do a contract will know it is not business as usual.
“You are going to do a presentation showing statistics, evidence and proofs of the fact that you can take delegates to your company, get them trained, employed and mentored so that at the end of the day they can get job somewhere because they have been properly mentored.
“After you have done a presentation, the entire amnesty team will also do a practical inspection of your facility. So, the Niger Delta should know there is hope for the region.”
Insisting that Dikio’s main focus was to address the challenges of reintegration, Dumale said the amnesty boss had already identified food security, waterway security and waterway transportation as areas of interest.
“We are blessed with so much fertile land and that is why he wants to concentrate on agriculture. We can make more than N65, 000 monthly by planting only maize and cassava.
“It is safer and easier to travel by water. So, waterway transportation is very profitable. Look at Port Harcourt to Calabar; it will take you the whole day to travel by road from Uyo to Calabar now. But, that same journey by water is less than one hour. The amnesty boss took responsibility to go through the same route by water himself last week Saturday to see things himself,” he noted.
“The Chinese people make billions of dollars annually from fishing in our own coastal lines. Why can’t we go into fishing business? Why can’t we buy trawlers and go fishing ourselves?
“Even in waterway security, we are the best people to secure our environment because we know our environment. So, these are the visions of the amnesty boss in the reintegration phase.”
Dumale appealed to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Environment to partner with the Amnesty Office to tackle the challenges of the region.
The former warlord warned civil servants in the amnesty office frustrating the efforts of Dikio to actualise the mandate of the scheme to steer clear.
“PAP is a security programme and should be treated as such. Salaries and finances should be released as at when due so that the office can run,” he said.
“The civil servants there should know that it is not civil service work and must cooperate with the leadership of that office, so that they will be able to carry out their projects and operations. They should not be a barrier to the vision of the amnesty boss.”

By: Amadi Akujobi

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FG Appeals To Youths To Shelve Protest

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President Bola Tinubu, yesterday appealed to Nigerian youths to shelve their plans to carry out protests.

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, disclosed this while addressing State House correspondents after a meeting with the President.

According to Idris, the President does not see any need for protest, he has listened to them, and asked them to await government’s response to all their pleas.

“Mr President has asked me to again inform Nigerians that he listens to them, especially the young people that are trying to protest.

“Mr President listens to them, he takes what they say seriously and he is working assiduously to ensure that this country is good not just for today but also for the future,” he said.

He said the government was doing a lot of things to cushion the hardship experienced by Nigerians.

“Today, the National Assembly has expeditiously passed the bill on National Minimum Wage. You can see how the President is working, it was transmitted only yesterday and today it has been passed.

“A lot of other interventions that the President has put in place are also going to be looked at expeditiously in the interest of Nigerians.

“So, there is no need for protest, the young people out there should listen to the President and allow him more time to see to the realisation of all the goodies he has for them,” Idris said.

The minister said the highlights of other policies to cushion the effect of the hardship Nigerians were feeling included distribution of grains and rice by the Federal Government to state governments.

“Like I said that time it is just the necessary first step. Government is going to continue in that direction, assuring that whatever intervention the Federal Government has put in place will go to those that should benefit.

“The Federal Government is looking at strategies that every intervention will go directly to those who benefit from those interventions not middle men intercepting them along the way,” he said.

He added that another important intervention by the Federal Government was the students loan.

“Mr President is very passionate about it, that everyone that should go to school will have the opportunity to do so.

“It is no longer a time for our young men and women who have passed examinations to go to tertiary institutions not to be able to do that because their parents cannot pay for their fees,” said the minister.

He said the government was also perfecting a scheme to support graduates of universities and polytechnics that were not able to get jobs until they got employed.

“The whole idea is that no one is left behind, it is an all inclusive government and the President is determined to ensure that no one is left behind in this attempt to march Nigeria towards progress,” said Idris.

The minister said his meeting with the President was to discuss issues relating to government’s media organisations such as NTA, FRCN, NAN and VON.

“We have discussed all that, we have also arrived at situations that will help their positions as public information platforms of the country.

“They should be in the forefront and we are doing everything possible to make sure that they are being repositioned so that they can serve Nigeria very well,” he said.

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We’ll Deliver Okania-Ogbogoro Road By Dec, Fubara Assures  …Says 90% Drainage Work Ready

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured of the timely completion of the 5-kilometer Okania-Ogbogoro Road that will ease movement for both residents and motorists who use that path to avoid the traffic problem caused by the ongoing construction of the Port Harcourt Ring Road in the State.

 

The Okania-Ogbogoro Road is in Akpor area of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State capital.

 

The Governor also described as fulfilling the expression of joy and excitement by residents of Okania and Ogbogoro communities who are seeing their major access road that was abandoned for about 14 years, being reconstructed with about 90 percent drainage work achieved.

 

Governor Fubara spoke shortly after embarking on a long trek of the 5-kilometer Okania-Ogbogoro road, inspecting culverts, drainages, texture of the surface layers of the road work, and receiving explanations from the Commissioner for Works, Engr Elloka Tasie-Amadi, who accompanied him on the inspection tour on Monday.

 

The Governor said: “You are aware that two months ago, we came here to flag off this project, having considered the importance of this road; knowing fully well what our people are suffering because of the Ring Road we are constructing.

 

“So, we are here this evening to assess the level of work going on here. I think from what we are seeing, it is better than what we met the first time we came here.

 

“The contractor has assured us that they have done 90 percent of the drainage work; and following the raining season, they are expecting to achieve a greater part of the project hopefully within August and September.”

 

Governor Fubara also said: “All things been equal, he has also assured us that by December, if we miss November, we will be coming here to commission this road.

 

“You can see how excited our people are. It is a road that has been abandoned for over 14 years. So, it means this project means a lot to the people living here.

 

“And for us as a government, it also means a lot that we are doing something that is touching the lives of our people,” he added.

 

He urged the people to exercise patience as a good quality road would be delivered for their use very soon, adding that the only thing the government expects from the people is their total support while maintaining peace in their communities.

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ICPC Threatens To Wield Big Stick Against Corrupt Legislators

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has expressed determination to sanction corrupt state Houses of Assembly legislators

Dr Musa Aliyu, the Chairman of ICPC, communicated this in Abuja, yesterday, at the opening of a three-day capacity building workshop for Jigawa State Legislators.

The theme of the workshop is “Transparency and Accountability: Effective Legislative Tools Towards Successful Mandate Delivery.’’

Musa, who expressed concern over the level of corruption in the country, stressed the need for the legislators to live above board and be seen to do so in all their public and private functions.

The chairman pledged the commission’s readiness to partner with the state legislative arm of government to fight corruption.

He said the ICPC would continue to carry out its three-pronged mandate of enforcement, prevention, public education and mass mobilisation within the confines of the law.

“We are ready to partner with the state legislature to advance the fight against corruption as we have done and are still doing with other arms and tiers of government.

“However, we will succeed in wielding the big stick when the occasion demands that we do so.’’

According to him, the relevance of the legislature in democratic governance needs not be overemphasised.

“The oversight function is critical in ensuring that the legislature’s intent in making laws that will improve the living standard of the poor is reflected in the performance of the executive functions.

“As important as its role in government is, the state legislature must endeavour to conduct its oversight functions within the ambit of the law that established the House of Assembly.

“Legislators should live above board and should be seen to do so in all their public and private functions.’’

He said that the interest and unity of the country, as demonstrated by the administration of President Bola Tinubu, should override the personal and collective interests of members of this critical arm of government.

“The principle of separation of powers must be respected and observed; encroaching on the functions of the executive and judiciary undermines democracy and good governance.

“Additionally, the legislature is expected to detect waste, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, corruption and mismanagement of public resources.

“However, these functions can only be effectively discharged by the legislative arm of government if it embraces transparency and accountability in its operations; this is why this workshop is so important,” he said.

The Speaker, Jigawa House of Assembly,  Haruna Dangyatin, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, Sani Abubakar, said the workshop was very timely and very good for all the members.

He promised the assembly’s collaboration with the ICPC in its fight against corruption making laws to address the menace in every sector in the state.

“I believe that the knowledge we will receive will assist us in delivering our mandate.

“We are going to make very good use of what we are going to learn; in terms of legislation, we will make laws.

“We have to conduct very good oversight to make sure that the money allocated to MDAs is being spent as expected to be spent and ensure proper budget implementation,” he said.

Richard Bello, acting Director, Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), said that the academy was working with stakeholders to build capacity to tackle corruption in different sectors.

He described legislative arm of government as a veritable partner in the quest to tackle corruption in the country, and ready tools that could be deployed to fight corruption.

“The importance of working with the legislative arm of government at both federal and state levels in combating the phenomenon of corruption can never be overstated.

“Legislators as direct representatives of the people in the corridors of power occupy a very sensitive position in a democratic setting such as ours in this country.

“The need to communicate the appropriate message down the line has never been more urgent than now.

“The crusade against corruption has moved to a critical stage in recent months and the realisation of the damage that the phenomenon is doing to the nation has made it even more urgent.’’

According to him, naturally, the society expects anti-corruption agencies to lead the crusade against the phenomenon.

“But we must also accept the fact that the anti-corruption agencies cannot alone on their own, fight and win the battle against corruption.

“The agencies need to work with various segments of the population in taking the battle to all corners and all sectors,” he said.

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