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Niger Delta

Coconut Refinery: Community Urges A’Ibom To Give Indigenes Jobs

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Residents of Ikot Akpan Okop, host community of St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, have appealed to Akwa Ibom State Government to employ its youths and women in the factory.
The residents of the community made the appeal in separate interviews with newsmen in Mkpat Enin, yesterday.
The residents said that in spite of the location of the refinery in the area, the state government had refused to employ indigenes of the host community in the refinery.
Mr Saturday Thompson, the youth President, Ikot Akpan Okop village, explained that since the commencement of the St. Gabriel Coconut Refinery in 2017, no member of the host community had been employed.
“Since the refinery was built, it has not favoured us in this community in any way. No youths and women have been employed to even do menial work in the refinery.
“Though I learned that once the refinery begins operations, people would be employed.
“Unfortunately, we have no one in government that can speak for us or present our grievances before the government.
“We plead with the governor to forgive us in any way we might have offended him as a result of the controversy that arose concerning the building of the refinery,” Thompson said.
He called on the state government to come to their aid, saying that government should give them their rightful slot as host community of the refinery.
Thompson also appealed to the state government to restore the village Head of Ikot Akpan Okop, who was dethroned six years ago over Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), adding that a village without a head would always have problems.
Another residence, Chief ThankGod John, a member of the village council, Ikot Akpan Okop community, Mkpat Enin LGA said that when menial jobs were given, no one from the community was employed.
“When work started on the site, nobody from this community was employed to work there.
“All those who worked on the site until the refinery was built are from neighbouring communities.
“As for me, I have not even entered the factory before not to talk of, or see how it looks like. No employment, nothing has been done for members of the host community.
“It took a protest from the people before a borehole was built here because a gutter was channeled from the factory into the village stream.
“People protested that the chemicals in the water channeled into the stream would pollute our drinking water. That is the only thing that has been done for the community.
“The government didn’t even sign an MOU with the community before the refinery was built. The state government has not dealt well with us as a village,” he said.
Also speaking, the ousted Village Head, Chief Obot Thompson, said that he was removed as Village Head of Ikot Akpan Okop because he asked the state government to sign MoU before building the refinery.
“I am on suspension for insisting that the state government ought to have signed MOU with the community before proceeding with the project.
Thompson revealed that though the compensation was finally paid to the affected landowners, he was still on suspension.
Efforts to reach the Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ini Ememobong, proved abortive as text messages and phone calls to his phone were not answered.
Efforts to reach Mr Frank Archibong, Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. were also abortive as text messages and phone calls to his phone were not answered.

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Ministry Ready To Partner TCAM

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The Bayelsa State Ministry of Health is prepared to collaborate with the Traditional, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) to ensure effective healthcare delivery to people of the State.
Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry, Dr Oluwatoyin Azebi disclosed this when the TCAM practitioners paid her a courtesy visit at the State Ministry of Health.
Azebi noted that traditional and alternative medicine is also essential in service delivery of quality healthcare.
Earlier, the State Coordinator of TCAM, Dr Ruth Okhiema, disclosed that the purpose of the visit was to strengthen the relationship between the health Ministry and TCAM.
While appealing for an enabling working environment, Dr Okhiema highlighted various challenges faced by the unit, and called for prompt inauguration of the TCAM Technical Working Group.
This, she said, would translate into the formal recognition of the TCAM unit in the State.
On his part, the Unit Head and Desk Officer, TCAM, Bayelsa State, Dr Tarila Prefa, and Chairman, Modern Traditional Medicine Practitioners in the State, Dr Joe Edem, applauded the Ministry for meeting their request.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Delta To Give Grants To 40 Mission Schools

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Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Sunday, said the state government would provide financial support to 40 schools it returned to religious missions in 2011.
Okowa said this during a thanksgiving service marking the end of the 16th Synod of the Asaba Diocese, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) at Cathedral Church of St. Peter, Bishop’s Court, Asaba.
The Governor said the grant had became necessary to assist the schools in running effectively, particularly in the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country.
Okowa, accompanied by his wife, Edith, up and top government functionaries, read the first lesson taken from Ezra 3: 6 -13.
He congratulated the new Bishop of the Diocese, Rt. Rev. Kingsley Obuh, on his consecration and enthronement.
“It is not easy for such schools to be managed given the current economic condition of the nation,” he said.
He commended the church for drawing his attention to the plight of the schools, especially his promise to ensure that grants were given to missions.
The Governor directed the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) to take action on the released grants to the affected schools.
“It is in the best interest of the Government of Delta State that they are supported to stand because they provide a space for study for some of our children.
“So, we will try to take action, at least, the first tranche of it to see what we can do to support our missions,” he said.
Okowa commended the church for its contributions to the health sector in the State, saying that their effort helped to provide health care services particularly to the less-privileged.
“As a government, we have continued to pay special attention to education and health.
“Delta has become a role model for contributory health insurance with over one million people enrolled in the scheme,” Okowa added.
Earlier in a sermon titled “Spiritual Foundations, Inevitable for Sustainable Work with God,” Rt. Rev. Chigozirim Onyegbule, Bishop, Missionary Diocese, Ikwuano, Abia, urged Christians to build strong foundation in their work for God.
He said for Christians to work effectively for God, their spiritual foundation must be very solid, adding, “if your foundation is not strong, you cannot withstand the problems of life.
“Everything on the face of the earth has a foundation and a weak foundation produces a miserable life.
“God is looking for those that He will partner, but if your foundation is weak, God cannot work with you.”

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Niger Delta

NSCDC Warns Illegal Security Firm Operators

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has warned operators of private security firms in Akwa Ibom State to register them or face the consequences of their actions.
The State Commandant of NSCDC, Mr Abidemi Majekodunmi, gave the warning in Uyo on Monday in an interview with The Tide’s source.
He told source that the corps has registered 67 Private Guard Companies (PGCs) in the State.
Majekodunmi said it was mandatory for all private guard companies to register with the corps, adding that anything short of that was unacceptable.
“The role of PGC’s is to provide security, protection, information and quality intelligence since they operate in locations of government and private units in every sphere of occupational engagements.
“Through training and oversight supervision activities by NSCDC, they are imbued with cutting edge competence skills and capacity enhancement.
“The concept is in tandem with emerging global trends in the area of public-private partnership to provide security and contain insecurity in the country,” Majekodunmi said.
The State Commandant said NSCDC would not tolerate any unregistered private guard company in the State, especially due to security challenges confronting the country.
He urged individuals and organisations wishing to hire private security guard to cross check with the NSCDC to ensure that they patronise registered ones.
Majekodunmi warned against dealing on adulterated petroleum products, vandalism of transformers and electrical installations in the state.

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