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Amnesty Programme Objective Not Achieved, Don’t Shelve It, Diri Tells FG ….Ex-Militants Protest Over PAP

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Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has appealed to Nigerian government to jettison any plan to end the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), saying that the programme was yet to achieve its objectives.
Diri insisted that PAP is yet to achieve its mandate, saying even the disarmament phase of the scheme has not been fully realised as arms and ammunition are still in the wrong hands in the Niger Delta.
The governor, who spoke when he received the Interim Administrator, PAP, Maj.-Gen. Barry Ndiomu (rtd), in Government House, Yenagoa, warned that any attempt to shut down the programme would plunge the region into another round of unrest.
He said: “The amnesty programme has three legs. The first is disarmament, a process, said to be completed; then the demobilisation leg and finally, the reintegration leg. On the issue of disarmament, can we completely convince ourselves that we have been able to completely disarm the Niger Delta of armaments in our region?
“So, while we are in the final stage of reintegration, you and I know that within our Niger Delta, we still have very many arms, non-state actors are in possession of arms, well that has been said to be completed but I like to state clearly here that the process is not 100per cent completed.
“Now, I will like to look more on the issue of reintegration. The reintegration is more like a continuous process of building human capacity and for you to continue to build human capacity, it follows that the amnesty programme must be on, and I’m happy while listening to you that you have already taken that up.
“It will be wrong for anybody at this point to bring the amnesty programme to a close. That will amount to being insensitive to what is going on in the region.”
While acknowledging that the Federal Government has soft-pedalled in its decision to shut down the programme, Diri said the best gift the government could give to the Niger Delta people is to allow the continuity of PAP.
The governor urged Ndiomu to deal with the challenges in the programme and write his name in gold, insisting that the problems are huge enough to contemplate closing the scheme.
“Let me use this opportunity of your courtesy call to call on the FG that the best thing and the best gift to the Niger Delta is to continue to support and keep the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) going.
“As you have rightly stated, yes, there are challenges, but then the amnesty programme has also recorded some degree of successes. Those challenges are the reasons our people keep coming and going. So, for me at every given opportunity, it is a time to write your name in gold and indeed, writing the name of your state, Bayelsa, in gold.
“If you have come and found certain challenges, we know you have the capacity to confront those challenges. Whatever you can do to ensure that the amnesty programme will continue to exist, please do them and let our people be the final beneficiaries of this programme,” Diri said.
The governor called on Ndiomu to avoid the temptation of politicising the amnesty office, saying that before the birth of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the people were one and the same.
He said: “I’ve always reminded us that before APC and PDP, we were one and the same people. Those, who sacrificed their lives, like Boro did, didn’t do that for political reasons and therefore, I’ll like to call on you not to politicize the amnesty programme”.
Diri observed that Ndiomu was the third person from Bayelsa to man the amnesty office, and appealed to him to carry the state along in all his activities to avoid regrets.
He frowned at the domiciling of the amnesty programme in Abuja and said his administration had donated a parcel of land to erect a befitting office for the scheme and bring it home.
“The amnesty programme as it operates today is more of Abuja. It’s almost an alien programme to our people, except people who will visit your offices in Abuja and I’ll like to call on you to ensure that the headquarters of the amnesty programme is sited in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state. To this end, the state government has already donated a parcel of land for that purpose,” he said.
Diri called for collaboration among the state government, the amnesty programme and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to avoid duplication of projects and programmes.
On the ongoing clean-up of Ogoni, the governor noticed the snail-paced movement of the programme, and reminded the Federal Government that many areas of the Niger Delta needed remediation.
He said: “We have also been agitating that the clean-up in Niger Delta shouldn’t be for Ogoni alone. We all know that the whole environment of the Niger Delta has been polluted.
“Bayelsa is not an exception, so remedying our environment should be one of the key responsibilities that PAP should also look into in partnership with other ministries and agencies of government.”
On his part, Ndiomu solicited the support of the Bayelsa government for his administration.
He said that he was poised to reform the amnesty programme to make it more impactful to the beneficiaries and results oriented.
Meanwhile, travellers and motorists were stranded, last Friday at the East-West Road as ex-Niger Delta agitators from the three phases of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, barricaded the Mbiama Bridge at the Ahoada West axis of Rivers State and Bayelsa State axis of the road for several hours.
The ex-agitators were protesting the alleged delisting of about 7,000 beneficiaries from the data base of the Presidential Amnesty programme by the Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Ndiomu (rtd).
They accused the interim administrator of the Presidential Amnesty office of trying to cause unrest in the Niger Delta region, which had experienced relative peace since the inception of the programme.
They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately intervene by reinstating their delisted members.
The Bayelsa State Chairman of Phases One Ex-agitators, Mr. Ebitei Ifiemi also known as General Bull, said that the interim administrator should hold a town hall meeting to address the issue with leaders or risk another round of unrest in the Niger Delta.

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NAFDAC Alerts Nigerians To EU Ban On Dex Soap

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The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, has alerted Nigerians on the ban on Dex Luxury Bar Soap (No 6 Mystic Flower), by the European Union (EU).
The notification is contained in a public alert with No. 012/2024, signed by NAFDAC Director-General, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, and issued to newsmen in Abuja yesterday.
“The product does not comply with the cosmetic products regulation; it also contains Butyphenyl Methylpropional (BMHCA), which is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its risk of harming the reproductive system.
“It also causes harm to the health of unborn children and may cause skin sensitisation.
“It is as a result of the defective nature of the product that the EU banned it.
“The products is not in NAFDAC database; importers, distributors, retailers and consumers are to exercise caution and vigilance within the supply chain,” she said.
NAFDAC boss urged marketers and consumers to avoid the importation, distribution, sale and use of the product, stressing that product’s authenticity and physical condition must be carefully checked.
She enjoined members of the public in possession of the product to discontinue sale or use, and submit stock to the nearest NAFDAC office.

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Communities, Volunteers Ready To Face Upcoming Floods – Red Cross

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The Country Manager of the British Red Cross in Nigeria, Karsten Voigt, says communities and volunteers are ready to face the challenges expected with the upcoming floods.
Voigt said this at the sidelines of the 56th Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS), Lagos Branch.
The Tide’s source recalls that the British Red Cross donated resilience items to some communities in December 2023, to help mitigate the effects of flooding.
The items included cash, rain boots, rain coats, mosquito nets, handheld flashlights, solar powered lights with radio, USB chargers and a bridge to link the communities.
The communities that benefited included Agboyi 1, Agboyi 2, Agboyi 3 and Odo Ogun in Kosofe Local Government Area of the state.
Voigt said the Red Cross had measured the impact of the project in the communities and noticed that a lot of progress had been made.
According to him, apart from the cash and items given to the communities, simulation exercises have also been carried out to prepare the volunteers ahead of the floods.
“We have seen that people used the cash to address immediate needs they have after floods.
“Many households have used part of the cash to build up businesses.
“The solutions we have given to them are not only addressing their immediate needs after the disaster but actually building family income for their future,” he said.

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Nimet Forecasts Three-Day Sunshine, Thunderstorms

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted sunshine and thunderstorm from Monday to Wednesday across the country.
NiMet’s weather outlook released yesterday in Abuja, forecasts sunny skies on Monday with a few patches of cloud over the northern cities and prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Taraba later in the day.
According to the forecast, sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with prospects of morning thunderstorm over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasarawa, Kogi and Kwara States.
“Later in the day, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Kogi and Benue States.
“The southern region is expected to be cloudy with spells of sunshine with prospects of morning thunderstorms over parts of Oyo, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo and Lagos States.
“ In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are expected over parts of Enugu, Ebonyi, Abia, Ekiti, Ogun, Imo, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers, Lagos and Bayelsa States,” it said.
NiMet also anticipated sunny skies on Tuesday with few patches of cloud over the northern states with prospects of isolated thunderstorms envisaged over parts of Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba and Kaduna States during the afternoon and evening hours.
It envisaged the North Central region to be sunny with patches of cloud during the morning hours.
The agency also envisaged isolated thunderstorms over parts of the Federal Capital Territory, Plateau, Nasarawa, Kogi, Benue, Kwara and Niger States, later in the day.
“Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South, with chances of morning thunderstorm over parts of Cross River, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
“In the afternoon/evening periods, isolated thunderstorms are anticipated over parts of Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Rivers and Bayelsa States ,” it said.
It predicted a sunny atmosphere on Wednesday, with patches of cloud over the northern region, during the forecast period.
“Sunny skies with patches of clouds are expected over the North Central region with chances of isolated thunderstorms over parts of Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, the Federal Capital Territory and Benue States, during the afternoon/evening periods.
“ Cloudy atmosphere with intervals of sunshine is expected over the inland and coastal areas of the South with prospects of thunderstorms over parts of Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Ebonyi and Abia.”
Other states to experience cloudy atmosphere, are “Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, Ogun, Oyo, Cross River, Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa States, later in the day.”
NiMet urged the public to take adequate precaution as strong winds might precede rains in areas where thunderstorms were likely to occur.
The agency also urged airline operators to get updated weather reports and forecasts from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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