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Diri’s Aide Faults Minister’s Comments On Flood Impact In Bayelsa

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Senior Special Assistant to the Bayelsa State Governor on Media, Comrade Tamarakuro Oweifie, has faulted comments credited to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Farouq, that Bayelsa State is not amongst the top-10 states hit by the devastating effects of the 2022 flood.
While expressing shock on the criteria the Minister used in making the assessment, the SSA stated the need “to put the record straight that Bayelsa stands as the worst impacted state from the floods due to several indices that are verifiable and uncontestable.”
Oweifie noted that of the 33 states Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) forecast to be flooded this year, it is only Bayelsa State that was cut off from the rest of the world as a result of the flood.
“The two land access routes into Bayelsa through the East-West Road were totally impassable, the over 10 kilometers Umeh-axis of the Patani-Ugheli end in Delta State, and the over 19 kilometers stretch of the Okobe-Ahoada axis in Rivers State, were totally cut-off, thereby leaving residents in Bayelsa State at their own mercy”, he said.
He continued that “Petroleum Products, cash crops and other basic necessities were totally not accessible, food shortages and fuel supplies were at an all time low, leaving residents at the mercy of cut throat marketers who sell as high as a thousand naira for a litre of fuel.
“It was not so in other flood impacted states across the nation”, which according to him, “were still selling a little above the stipulated price of N180 per liter”.
The media aide disclosed that beyond the non-availability of staple foods for residents and internally displaced persons, Bayelsa stands as the only state nationwide with all Local Government Areas affected by the flood.
Noting that since late September when the flood started in the State, neither the Federal Government nor National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) had rendered any assistance, Oweifie questioned from where the Minister’s statistics of deaths from the flood came.
“There have been over a hundred flood-induced deaths occuring in the state without due records due to the challanging terrain, as most health care centers and hospitals were closed down during this period.
“The Bayelsa State Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, and other rural health centers have been shut down due to flooding.
“Over 300 communities affected, and mortuaries in the state capital are currently filled up to capacity due to hundreds of flood impacted deaths and with rotten corpses and cadavas.
He stated further that, “Bayelsa stands as the only state in the federation where public and private schools have been closed down for six weeks due to the flood, while other states, including those the Minister say are on the top-ten worse hit states, have been managing some public and private schools, and getting education amidst the flood.
“Bayelsa State has faced a total shut down of its economy as a result of the flood as over 90% of its population have been directly or indirectly impacted by the ravaging floods.
“Houses have been totally submerged in Biseni, Elemebiri, Ekperiwari, Sampou, Kalama, Tombia, and in all communities in Ekeremor, Sagbama, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw.
“The data relied upon by the Federal Government to place other northern states as worst-hit than Bayelsa is erroneous and must be duly corrected.
“The Minister should show us a state whose whole sources of economic livelihood were totally cut off as a result of the floods?
“She should show us a state that had all her LGAs under the flood. She should show us a state whose education system, public and private, were totally stalled during this flood period?

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

London Museum Returns Looted Benin Bronzes To Nigeria

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A small museum in south-east London has begun the official process of returning looted Benin bronzes to Nigeria. The Horniman Museum, which houses a collection of 72 treasured items that were taken by force from Benin City in 1897, officially handed over ownership of the artifacts to the Nigerian government.
The Horniman described returning the looted objects as a “moral and appropriate” response after a request from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM). There are still questions about whether thousands of items which were held at large institutions globally, including the British Museum, will ever be sent back.
However, the first six objects which were being returned includes two Benin Bronze plaques from the royal palace which were handed over to Nigerian officials at a ceremony marking the transfer of ownership of 72 looted items. The items were taken from Benin City by British troops in February 1897.
Nick Merriman, chief executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and prof. Abba Tijani, the NCMM’s director general, were asked by journalists ahead of the official handover if they were frustrated at the British Museum’s apparent reluctance to hand over the 900 objects it had held for more than a century. Merriman, who said the Horniman had been an “excellent example” of leadership, stated that, “Journalists who ask me about the Benin return always want to ask me about the British Museum.”

“I would rather talk about what an excellent example the Horniman is rather than answer questions about the British Museum.” The six objects selected in consultation with the NCMM as being representative of the collection of 72 items form the first wave of physical repatriation of Benin objects from the Horniman.

A new agreement between the NCMM and the Horniman will allow the remainder to stay in Britain on loan for now, with a second phase of physical repatriations to follow in due course. Professor Tijani later explained that about 5,000 Benin bronzes were currently “scattered” around the world. He said that he is hoping that talks with various institutions may result in deals that could herald the items being returned from places including Germany and the U.S.

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Underage Street Traders Increase Bothers Agency

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The Delta State Capital Territory Development Agency has expressed worries at the increasing number of underage street traders.
The agency consequently blamed parents of such traders for their failure to ensure proper care of their children and wards.
Its Director-General, Mrs Joan Onyemaechi, told newsmen in Asaba that underage children were becoming common sight on streets in the state capital, whereas such children were supposed to be in school.
According to her, the proliferation of street trading has become worrisome and steps will be taken to ensure that children are taken off the streets.
“More than 8,000 under-age children are on the streets, especially at Koka and Ibusa junctions of Asaba, selling pure water and other items when they are supposed to be in school,’’ she noted.
Earlier, some of the hawkers, who spoke with newsmen, said they ventured into selling pure water to earn a living as there were no persons to cater to their well-being.

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Ndiomu Lauds PAP’s First Class Graduates, Others As Admiralty Varsity Holds Maiden Convocation

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The Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj. Gen Barry Ndiomu (rtd) has applauded PAP’s First-Class graduates at the Admiralty University of Nigeria, Ebusa, Delta State.
The ceremony, which was the school’s maiden convocation, held on the campus, at Asaba, the Delta State capital, saw a female beneficiary of the PAP scholarship, Ms Ebike-Emiyen Doma Perewolatei, emerging as the best graduating student in the Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Science for the 2021/2022 academic session.
The Tide learnt that Ms Perewolatei, who bagged four other awards, including cash gifts, clinched a coveted First-Class degree in History and International Studies with a CGPA of 4.86.
While Alagha Tarinpre Angela, another PAP scholarship beneficiary, who also bagged a First Class degree, was presented with an award and cash gift as the student who exhibited the best leadership qualities.
Another PAP Scholarship beneficiary graduate, Mr Famous Tumodi, who also bagged first-class honours, was awarded the best graduating student in International Relations and Tourism Studies.
In the same vein, another beneficiary of the PAP Scholarship, James Ayefemawei Thomas, emerged as the best graduating student with a first-class degree in Accounting, Business Administration and Economics on a CGPA of 4.72.
Other PAP Scholarship beneficiaries among the ten that bagged First Class are: Olotu Jerry, Peters Isobeye Princess, Bernard Moses Ebiwei, Azibanataram Reuben, Moses Diepreye Immaculate, and Iko Tokoni.
The Tide also learnt that aside the 10 students, 61 other beneficiaries of the Amnesty Programme also awarded Second Class Upper Division at the ceremony in which a total of 118 beneficiaries of the programme graduated.
Speaking on behalf of the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Maj. Gen Barry Ndiomu (rtd), Head of the Reintegration Department, PAP, Wilfred Musa, said the Presidential Amnesty Programme was proud to have sponsored very brilliant minds who have been found worthy in character and learning.
He charged the recently graduated beneficiaries to continue to be good Ambassadors of the university, themselves, the PAP, and the Niger Delta at large, assuring that a good future awaits them if they choose to continue in the excellence they have exhibited in their academics.
He further expressed excitement about the award presented to Ms Alagha Tarinpre Angela, commending her for being an excellent example of a leader, saying it was worthy of emulation by Niger Deltans.
“The PAP is committed to excellence and these students have shown that there is a great future for the Niger Delta region.
“The Interim Admnistrator has revealed that the PAP will not renege on its existing commitment to the students under its scholarship programme.
“General Ndiomu has advised students undergoing studies in other universities to emulate the exemplary academic excellence of these fresh graduates”, he said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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