The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area in Rivers State, Engr. Samuel Nwanosike, has said that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was a saving grace for the people who had been traumatised by the devastating impact of soot caused by illegal oil refining in the state.
Nwanosike stated this, last Saturday, while fielding questions from Reuters reporters, Mr Tife Owolabi and Mr Adesola Afolabi, at Isiokpo over fight against illegal oil refining.
According to him, “The governor of Rivers State is a saving grace because if not for the action the governor of Rivers State took to save the lives of the people of Rivers State, I can tell you that nobody knows what our lives would be in the next few years from now”.
Nwanosike said that 152 illegal oil refineries have been identified in Ikwerre LGA, out of which 128 have been destroyed, assuring that he would not rest until all illegal oil refineries and crude oil dump sites in the LGA were completely destroyed.
The Ikwerre LGA boss noted that Ogbodo Community in Isiokpo and other communities in the state have been completely destroyed, including ecosystem and aquatic lives, due to oil bunkering activities, adding that all the periwinkles and fishes in the rivers have all been exterminated.
“As a people, we have decided that we would stay alive first before talking about governance.
“We are aware that oil and gas is in the Exclusive List. And so, we were patient as a government to see if the promise the Vice President of Nigeria made to the people of Niger Delta in giving them support and logistics to organise what is called modular refineries to come to fruition, but it’s like the present administration has failed in everything they promised Nigerians when they came to power. They failed to secure us.
“You can see the insecurity happening in Nigeria: Boko Haram has taken over the North-East; bandits have taken over the North-West and the North-Central; other non-state-actors like IPOB and all the rest have taken over the South-East. They have failed to improve our economic situation.
“And so, we have waited as a people and we have seen that they have also failed in bringing the modular refineries”, he said.
Nwanosike regretted the Federal Government’s carefreeness over illegal oil refining in the Niger Delta, saying that the farms the people survive from were all gone.
He emphasised that soot has caused many deaths and damaged properties, vowing that it was not time to keep quiet anymore.
“We have made up our minds as a government that no more illegal refinery in our environment. We are ready to do anything to stay alive as a people”, the Ikwerre council chairman said.
While saying that more illegal oil refineries are being discovered in Ikwerre LGA through intelligence report, he revealed that those caught perpetuating the acts have been prosecuted.
Nwanosike applauded Wike and security operatives for supporting the local government chairmen in the state to fight the illegal oil refinery menace.
He urged Nigerians to vote for a government that could liaise with international community and give them better refineries when the 2023 election comes.
The chairman of Ikwerre LGA called on the international community to come to the aid of the people of Rivers State, stressing that the people were dying and need support.
“Our environment is gone. They should mount pressure on the Federal Government not to keep a deaf ear on this. Mr President cannot claim he is not aware of what is happening”, he stated.
Nwanosike ridiculed the Minister of Transportation, Hon Chibuike Amaechi, for his muteness over the fight against oil bunkering activities in Ikwerre LGA.
He said, “The Minister of Transportation is from this community. He is an Ikwerre Local Government man. Chibuike Amaechi will not say he is not aware of what is happening. What kind of leader would he be when he comes back from Abuja one day and finds out that we are all dead? Who will he govern?
“We are asking them to rise to this challenge and forget about politicising it, and forget about trivialising it”, Nwanosike said.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
World Bank To Fund $30bn Projects In Nigeria, Others
The World Bank has said it is set to disburse a total of $30billion to fund existing and new projects in Nigeria and other countries as part of a global response to combat the ongoing food security crisis.
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 Federal Government has announced the postponement of May, 2022 Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting.
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
Nigeria has 18.5million out-of-school children (OSC), the highest number in the world, and out of the figure, 10million are girls, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has said.
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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