About 115 rice farmers in Bayelsa State are set to benefit from a food crops production programme sponsored by a non-governmental organisation, Stakeholders Alliance for Corporate Accountability (SACA) in partnership with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The Tide, which monitored the programme in Yenagoa, reports that participants at the first batch of the programme expected to kick-off soon were drawn from Yenagoa and parts of the Ogbia Council areas of the State.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the event tagged, “UNGP-P2R protect, Respect and Remedy Project: Meeting with SACA Rice Farmers”, the Executive Director of SACA, Mr Kingsley Ozegbe, stated that the programme was a fallout of the NGO’s recent inauguration of the Environmental Management Committee (EMT), the Agricultural Management Committee (AMC), and the Human Rights Due Diligence Committee (HRD) to educate and help communities achieve good development in the Niger Delta region.
He noted that SACA has been engaging Biseni Clan to secure land for the cash crops (oil palm cultivation), adding that the NGO is partnering with Bayelsa State Ministry of Agriculture and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), to train rice farmers in 15 communities to ensure food security.
The Tide reports that the SACA is funded by Misean Cara of the Republic of Ireland and St. Patrick Missionary Society.
“The Environmental Management Committee will be enlightening and educating people on the hazards associated with oil spillages, the Human Rights Due Diligence Committee will be supporting individuals and project communities to secure respect of their human rights and access remedy where necessary, whereas the Agricutural Management committee will be refocusing people on agriculture to grow into commercial production and reduce attention on oil and gas.” Ozegbe said.
“We’re starting with 115 rice farmers from two Local govyernment Areas of the statte. They’re Yenagoa and parts of the Ogbia Local Government Areas.
“Today, in this programme, we’ve 25 Rice farmers participating as torch bearers, while a cumulative 90 vulnerable farmers will be attached to the torch bearers to strengthen their productive capacity, potential to access Agricultural credit facilities and reduce their vulnerability to abuse and violence”, he said.
In support of SACA’s efforts, the representative of Bayelsa State Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, who is the Director of Agricutural services of the Ministry, Dr. Okoya Ebasi, the Deputy Manager of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Yenagoa branch, Mr Sheke Sunday, and the Manager of Bank of Agriculture in Bayelsa State, Mr Ikegwu Kenneth, as well as the state’s Manager of the Nigerian Agricultural Insurance Corporation, Mr Suowari Tonbara, called on all beneficiaries of the project to take the scheme seriously.
They reiterated that it was high time Bayelsans took Agriculture as a business and not just as a means of eking out a living as peasant farmers, saying that the government can only give agricultural loans to those who practice Agriculture as a business.
Meanwhile, giving an overview of the project, the Programme Manager of SACA, Mr Augustine Anyio, tasked the beneficiaries to position themselves to effectively utilize the opportunities created by the Agricutural sector of economy to earn maximum benefit.
He noted that SACA will not be giving cash to farmers but improved rice seedlings and training on modern agronomy practices, explaining that each torch bearer will be fully supported to cultivate 50 by 100 plots of land in each of their location for the project
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Police Nab Three Cultists In Delta
The Police Command in Delta State says it has arrested three suspected cultists and armed robbers in Warri and also recovered ammunition from them.
Spokesman of the State’s Command, DSP Bright Edafe, who disclosed this in Warri, said the suspects are: Chukwuma Owoh, Ediri Ogendengbe, and Alfred Kess.
He said the trio were arrested on August 5 by the Police operatives attached to the Quick Response Squad (QRS) of the Command.
The spokesman explained that the operatives were on a stop and search duty in the Pessu neighborhood, Warri South Local Government Area, when they intercepted the hoodlums in a tricycle.
“Upon search of the occupants, one locally made cut-to-size gun and four live cartridges were recovered from them.
“The three suspects were immediately arrested. One of the suspects, Owoh, confessed that he bought the gun from one Haruna in Hausa market in Warri.
“That he was on his way to Pessu in search of some Aiye confraternity cult members that attacked his younger sister,” he said.
He said that the suspects were currently in police custody, adding that investigation was ongoing.
Edafe said that Mr Ari Ali, Commissioner of Police in Delta State, has urged officers and men of the Command to sustain the tempo and be polite and civil to members of the public while on duty.
“Incivility to members of the public will not be tolerated under my watch,” Ali said.
NCDMB, SWS Partner To Empower Teenage Mothers
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is collaborating with a gender advocacy group, StandUp for Women Society (SWS), to bring succour to teenage mothers in Bayelsa State.
The Tide’s source reports that 20 teenage mothers who dropped out of schools in Bayelsa have been re-enrolled for education and vocational skills acquisition training programmes.
The NCDMB-funded initiative, implemented by SWS, is in conjunction with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Legal Aid Community Development Service group.
Deputy Manager, Capacity Building, NCDMB, Mr. Timbiri Augustine, said the teenagers, selected from rural communities within Yenagoa Local Government Area, would undergo training in fashion design, catering, facial make-up, and hairdressing for three months at the Bayelsa Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Yenagoa.
He disclosed this while speaking during the inauguration, on Wednesday, at the Institute.
According to him, the Board attached so much importance to training and human capital development, hence the support for the training.
Augustine, who commended the stakeholders for initiating the training, stressed its importance to the development of young women, adding that this was the first time the category of persons would be captured by the Board for skills acquisition training.
“We have noted that employment is limited, but there is the entrepreneurship window that is open for all of us; there are only two ways to generate income: either as a service provider or producer or both.
“This trainings will expose you to skills to become a service provider and a producer.
“We expect maximum commitment, you have a role to play; we are playing our own role, the trainers are expected to play their own role, and you are also expected to play your own role and remain committed and align with our expectations”, he charged them.
He thanked the stakeholders involved in the training, saying that NCDMB knew the importance of partnership and collaboration as a key priority.
The Rector, Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Prof. Apuega Arikawie, commended the NCDMB for utilising the facilities offered by the Institute for its different trainings and financing different programmes in the Niger Delta and country at large.
He said the NCDMB thought it wise to sponsor the programme to empower teenage girls to take care of their children and make them entrepreneurs, reduce criminality, poverty and other anti social vices bedeviling the Niger Delta.
In her speech, the Chairperson of SWS, Bayelsa Chapter, Ms Eunice Nnachi, said the training programme aims to achieve social integration and give hope to teenage mothers who found themselves in the role of parenting at a tender age.
Nnachi explained that the trainees would be given stipends and starter packs to enable them to become self-reliant.
She noted that more than 100 teenage mothers had been captured and would undergo the skills acquisition training to be carried out in different phases.
According to her, arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the programme was well monitored and supervised for optimal impact on the beneficiaries.
Joint Patrol Team Impounds 51 Vehicles Over Number Plate Offences
A joint patrol of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and Nigeria Police Force have impounded 51 vehicles and 40 bikes in Cross River State for number plate offences.
Cross River State Sector Commander of the FRSC, Mr Maikano Hassan, said in an interview with The Tide’s source in Calabar that the 51 vehicles were impounded in Calabar while the 40 bikes were arrested in Ikom.
Hassan said the joint operation commenced on Monday in Calabar and Ikom to check those he described as hoodlums moving about in vehicles without number plates.
He said such vehicle owners often commit terrible crimes and go scot-free without being identified.
“We will ensure that these vehicle owners fix their number plates accordingly.
“We will sustain the operation but after a while we will give the motorists a breathing space to go and properly register their vehicles and this involves both tricycles and bikes.
“Although, there is a ban on commercial motorcycles in the Calabar metropolis, in Ikom and Ogoja where they still operate, our men are still doing the same special joint patrol to clampdown on vehicles without registration numbers.”
The sector Commander added that all the vehicles impounded were not made to pay any fine, but held until their owners obtain proper registration and fix their number plates.
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