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Empowering The  IDPs Out Of Poverty 

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Internally displaced persons (IDPs), according to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, are persons or groups of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an internationally recognized state border. There are a lot of IDPs in different parts of Nigeria. These groups of persons are entitled to all the rights and guarantees as citizens and other habitual residents of their country. As such, national authorities have the primary responsibility to prevent forced displacement and to protect IDPs.
However, IDPs, due to their forced displacement, are inherently vulnerable to deprivation, further displacement and other protection risks, such as lack of access to basic services, family separation, sexual and gender-based violence, trafficking, discrimination and harassment. There is, therefore, the need to empower the IDPs and help them face their challenges with every sense of responsibility. This was the case with The National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) which in its four-year programme empowered 300 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and their households with agricultural inputs in Kuje and Durumi camps, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which helped to improve their livelihoods and stepped them out of the poverty line.
The IDPs stated this when the Spanish Cooperation Agency in Madrid, led by its Director, Mr Anton Leis visited the NANTS office in Abuja where NANTS and ECOWAS shared their success story. Added to this, a delegation of the Spanish Government led by its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jose Manuel Albares visited Nigeria and signed a Development Cooperation and Financial Agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission to continue on this path of development and regional economic integration. It will be recalled that in 2019, NANTS in collaboration with ECOWAS under the Regional Agency for Agriculture and Food (RAAF) and the Spanish International Development Agency (AECID) embarked on an empowerment programme aimed at providing succor to the IDPs spread around Abuja.
Through this project, the association selected 300 households among the worst hit and poorest IDPs (who were originally farmers) in their various localities in the North East from where they were displaced.
Agricultural inputs ranging from hoes, improved seeds, particularly maize and groundnuts, fertilizers, chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, spraying machines, and some back up cash were thereafter given to the beneficiaries to enable them to get engaged in farming. This ultimately got them back to a means of livelihood and moved them out of the streets where they were begging and depending on arms.
NANTS also provided technical backstopping by engaging experts on agronomy who trained and followed up the beneficiaries through the setting up of demonstration farms from where they were learning daily for improved agricultural practices. The association further intervened and negotiated with community leaders in Kuje and Kosso communities who provided farm lands for the selected IPDs. Recounting their experiences and benefits from the project, some of the representatives of the beneficiaries testified that the project had built their capacity for improved productivity in selected crops such as maize and groundnut.
According to them, about 1,800 tons of maize was produced as an aggregate harvest at 6 tons per hectare per beneficiary using best practices adopted by NANTS. Similarly, about 1,000 tons of groundnuts were produced as an aggregate harvest by the end of the season at 3 ton per hectare per beneficiary. In the end, about 74 (project) beneficiaries exited the IDPs camp for better accommodation, with 13 currently living in their own houses while 18 of them acquired land to start the process of building their own houses. Added to this is the fact that over 100 youths in the IDP camps and in the community got attracted and were absorbed into farming, while 43 beneficiaries whose children were out of school sent them back to school after several years of drop out owing to poverty.
Also, 31 of the beneficiaries acquired and renewed their mobile phones, with 61 identifiable thriving farming businesses contributing incomes to the beneficiaries. Ironically, over 66 per cent of the beneficiaries are women. In all, the IDP project significantly contributed to increased food production and reduction in the incidences of hunger and malnutrition among the IDPs. Indeed, the NANTS project contributed to the protection and rehabilitation of the vulnerable population displaced from their homes and means of livelihood; strengthened their social security system; created agro markets and enhanced food security and sufficiency. Mr. Chiroma Isaiah, the Chairman of the IDP Camp in Kuje said that the IDPs were traditional farmers who were displaced from their communities. He disclosed that the project rekindled their hopes and improved their livelihoods by fostering access to agricultural tools.
Hear him: “By the time I came to Abuja I had nothing and I was begging all around, but this programme has facilitated the return of my eight children to school. Currently, three of them have finished secondary school while one has graduated from the college of education.
”Now I have built my house and I have bought another piece of land. Through this project many of us have motorcycles that they use for commercial purposes.’’ On his part, Malam Umar Gola from Durumi IDP Camp, commended NANTS, ECOWAS-RAAF and the AECID for the support.Gola who lost his wife and two children to insurgency said that the project improved his capacity beyond what he originally knew about farming by providing training on improved technology that resulted in improved productivity. “Now I have gone beyond maize and groundnut production and have about two tonnes of beans produced and stored to be sold when the price increases. I have procured two plots of land in Karshi to build my own house.
“This project has positively impacted so much on us; it provided us with seedlings and funds that helped us to diversify apart from farming,’’ Gola said. He, however, expressed concern that they were still faced with the challenge of herders’ attack on their farms. Similarly, Mrs Rufkatu Peter, said that the project promoted her gradual exit from IDP status. She described the NANTS project as a landmark approach towards ensuring that food security was taken to the next level in terms of sustainability. In her words, “I ran away from Goza pregnant and delivered twins in Abuja when the project started. I zealously joined the project with my children to make ends meet, and was later joined by my husband.
“Today, from this project, we are living in our own house and all our five children are in school and well taken care of.”   Earlier, the National President of NANTS, Dr Ken Ukaoha said that research showed that over 90 per cent of people in IDP camps were traditionally farmers before they were displaced from their communities. He observed that the project had enhanced food and nutrition security mechanisms for IDPs and brought peace among households in the host communities through regular interface, negotiation strategies as well as agronomic training and agriculture extension services. “We provided farm inputs, procured and developed demonstration farms and training manuals, took them there where we trained them in crop agronomy and 300 households regained their livelihoods. They were originally farmers before they were displaced, so we needed to buy everything they needed to start life so as to move them from the roads where they were begging,” he stated.
Ukaoha, however, solicited continued support for the project to capture more IDPs. He said that records indicated that there are about 6, 348 IDP households in Abuja and the project only captured 300.He commended ECOWAS and the AECID for remaining profoundly resilient in assisting the poor IDPs. The Director, Spanish Cooperation Agency, Mr Anton Leis said that Spain would continue to strengthen its cooperation with Nigeria and ECOWAS. This, according to him, will enable them to finance and support more similar projects.  “This is one of the best and most important projects implemented with our support. We thank everyone involved in making a difference in the project as we have seen and the opportunity to hear from the beneficiaries,’’ Leis said.
While recalling some challenges faced by the world in the last four years, Leis urged the beneficiaries not to lose hope. “Nigeria is a country of hope. Your personal experience expresses some hope and it is not just in Nigeria or this part of the world that we have internally displaced people, we have a hundred million people all over the world that are refugees or IDPs. “Your stories depicted hardships and difficult times, but with some help from us, ECOWAS and NANTS you are able to pull through. Your kids are in schools, you have built your houses, you can make a living and that calls for congratulations for everybody supporting this work,’’ he said.

By: Calista Ezeaku

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Vote Against Candidates In Support Of Naira Redesign Policy Implementation -Wike …Challenges Sekibo To Disclose Why Obasanjo Sacked Him As Minister

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians not to vote for any candidate that supports the way the currency redesign policy is being implemented, in the forthcoming election.
Governor Wike spoke at Opobo Town Sandfield during the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign flag-off rally for Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area at the weekend.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, explained that such candidate is an enemy of Nigerians, who are already plunged into inexplicable economic hardship with nonavailability of both the old and new Naira notes to enable them buy food for their households and fuel for their cars.
Governor Wike said he is convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari, who may not have been properly briefed on the hardship the Naira swap is causing Nigerians, is already getting feedback on the ill advised policy and will review the implementation.
“Anybody who claims he loves Nigeria and is contesting election but is supporting this CBN policy. Will you people vote for such person? It is only the enemies of Nigeria that are supporting this anti-people policy. I believe President Muhammadu Buhari was not properly briefed about this policy”, he said.
Governor Wike insisted that the policy is being implemented to provoke the civil populace into embarking on public protests that could be used as an excuse to postpone the forthcoming election.
The governor pointed out that there is a cabal behind the policy implementation who are pushing to install an interim government, thereby prevent Nigerians from using their Permanent Voters Cards to determine their next leaders.
“The primary target of this policy is to provoke Nigerians to embark on civil disturbance which they will capitalise on to say they cannot conduct election and push for enthronement of an interim government. No matter the provocation, I urge everyone to be calm. This election must hold because nothing will stop an Opobo man to become governor”, he vowed.
Wike challenged the former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, to explain why former President Olusegun Obasanjo sacked him from his cabinet.
The governor described himself as a man of integrity who served as minister under President Goodluck Jonathan and later resigned honourably to contest governorship election and won.
He also asserted that he is not among those who had caused crisis in their local governments and has blood on their hands, daring Sekibo to also make similar assertion.
Canvassing votes for the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, Governor Wike enjoined Opobo people not to undermine the opportunity they have now to produce the next governor of the State.
He assured of signing the contract for the construction of Opobo Ring-Road, which will be completed by Fubara when he wins the election and assumes office as governor.
Governor Wike also told the electorate to deliver their votes for all PDP candidates in the state and await instructions from their leaders on the presidential candidate to cast votes for.
Sir Fubara, in his speech, restated his promise to the leadership of the party to never disappoint the confidence reposed in him to fly the party’s gubernatorial flag.
Fubara urged Opobo people to deliver their votes as an appreciation of the opportunity given to their son to become the next governor of the State.
He acknowledged the benevolence of Governor Wike in delivering road infrastructure and land reclamation projects in Opobo town, and assured that they would benefit more when he wins.
Presenting flags to PDP candidates, Chairman of the party in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, enjoined Opobo people to ensure that they deliver winning votes for their son and all the candidates of the party.
In his speech, Senator Adawari Pepple, expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for deeming it necessary to support their son to emerge PDP governorship candidate in the state.
Senator Pepple asserted that a true Opobo citizen is a loyal person and that Fubara will not disappoint the confidence reposed in him.
He assured that the entire Opobo people would follow Governor Wike wherever he goes and vote as he directs.
Dr. Sam Jaja acknowledged that Governor Wike has used his position to give prominence to an Ijaw son of Ibani extraction.
According to him, they have resolved that their votes will be wholesomely delivered for the PDP governorship candidate and the entire consolidation team.
Speaking on behalf of the candidates, Senator Barinada Mpegi, said the entire Rivers South East Senatorial District is fully ready to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the state.
Earlier, Governor Wike, Fubara and other PDP leaders had paid a courtesy visit to the palace of His Majesty, King (Dr.) Dandeson Douglas Jaja, Jeki V, Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom.
The King, in appreciation of the governor’s benevolence to the Opobo kingdom, conferred on him ‘Amafurotuo’ which means son of Opobo.

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Implementation Of New Naira Policy Is Anti-People, Wike Tells Buhari …Insists Cabal In Presidency Backing Atiku

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Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider the manner with which the currency redesign policy is being implemented because it is anti-people.
Governor Wike maintained that those who recommended this apparently anti-people monetary policy do not love the President and are bent on tarnishing his legacies.
The governor stated this at the Comprehensive Secondary School field, Ibaka Town, Okrika Island, during the Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Flag-off Rally for Okrika Local Government Area, last Friday.
Governor Wike, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, urged President Buhari to take a critical look at the socio-economic chaos and hardship that the exercise has caused, and revisit the policy in order to curb the pains of Nigerians.
According to him, “This policy is anti-people. The new Naira note is not there. Even though I have money in my account, I cannot get N10,000. I cannot go and buy fuel. Who is losing? Is it not the masses? Is it not the people?”
He advised the President to stop listening to those who advise him on this monetary policy under the guise that it will curb vote buying, saying those advisors do not mean well for Nigerians and cannot feel their sufferings.
Governor Wike also dismissed the claim that the policy is being implemented to fight politicians and corruption, and wondered if such goals can be achieved within the remaining three months of President Buhari’s administration.
“You’re merely fighting against the poor people. Mr President, I know the pressure, but please since two of us are going the same time, this policy, it has nothing to fight corruption at all. It has nothing to fight politicians.
“This policy is aimed to suffer the people who elected us to govern over them. Our business is not to make the people to suffer. We all know how to fight corruption. We all know how to fight politicians. This particular one, it does not come in at all”, he insisted.
Governor Wike expressed dismay that people were prevented from accessing money lodged in their bank accounts while small scale commercial activities were grounded for lack of cash.
According to him, there is reduced cash flow in circulation and even the redesigned Naira notes are hardly available to the citizenry.
“I know Mr President has good intention, but there are these people who believe they know more than everybody, they go and put the country in total chaos and that is what we are suffering now”, Wike said.
He stressed the futility of presenting credit cards to pay for food items bought from an elderly woman who depends on daily sales to raise money in the rural areas with prevailing illiteracy.
According to the governor, there is no where in the world where such currency change has been done conclusively within six months.
He said, “I have never seen anywhere in this world where you change money within six months and say no more use of old money. It doesn’t work. It takes time and you have to prepare. Look at our economy, look at the rural areas, the level of illiteracy in the country.”
Governor Wike urged President Buhari to avert aggravating the security challenge across the country and pushing Nigerians deeper into economic hardship.
“Can you imagine the problem you’re causing for us. As we are here, the level of insecurity will increase. We can’t get security agencies money any longer for them to use and pay those who are in the field. Even the CIA they carry cash for operation. Even NIA, they carry cash for operation. But here, we can’t even give our security One Million Naira.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said recent events had vindicated him over his initial public statement that the PDP presidential candidate and his supporters boasted that they do not need the G-5 governors to win election because they had been assured of victory by a cabal in the presidency.
“I said they have been given assurance, but this election is not going to be based on that cabal assurance. It is on the people’s assurance”, he said.
Governor Wike, however, insisted that any party that does not need Rivers State will lose the election.
According to him, “whether you like it or not, you must need Rivers State. If you don’t need Rivers State you must fail. If you say you don’t want us, you’ll fail. There is no two ways about it.”
Soliciting votes for the PDP governorship candidate in the state, Sir Siminialayi Fubara and other PDP candidates, Governor Wike urged the people to vote overwhelmingly for the PDP.
He disclosed that the contract for the Okrika sandfilling project has been re-awarded because the former contractor who is their son has failed to finish the project.
Governor Wike also announced the upgrading to first class traditional stool status, confirmation and recognition of King Nelson Atubo Oputibeya as the Amanyanabo of Koniju.
Sir Fubara, in his address, said his administration, when elected as governor, would work to sustain the existing peace in Okrika, complete any ongoing project it may inherit, and provide more development projects to them.
Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented the party’s flags to the various candidates in the area, urged Okrika people to vote massively for the party’s candidates.
Speaking on behalf of other candidates, the Rivers East Senatorial candidate, Chief Allwell Onyesoh, thanked the leadership and members of the party for the privilege given to them to fly the party’s flag, pledging that they will provide quality representation when elected.
Earlier, Governor Wike had inaugurated a 100-Bed Mother and Child Hospital in Okrika, which was built under the auspices of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the office of the presidency.
The project was nominated and attracted to the area by Hon. Bright Gogo, the House of Representatives member for Okrika and Ogu/Bolo federal constituency.
While commending Princess Adejoke Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistants on SDGs to President Buhari, for ensuring the building and equipping of the hospital, Governor Wike noted that Hon. Gogo has distinguished himself for attracting and realising the project in his constituency unlike other federal lawmakers from the state who attracted no projects.

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Rivers Electorate’ll Punish PDP National Leadership -Wike

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Rivers electorates will use the forthcoming election to punish the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for abandoning them during the October and November 2022 flooding incidence.
Governor Wike made the remark yesterday at the Community Secondary School in Akinima Town during the Rivers State PDP Campaign Flag-off Rally at Ahoada West Local Government Area.
The governor explained that the flooding situation was devastating in some communities of Abua/ Odual, Ahoada West and Ahoada East Local Government Areas with houses submerged, the people displaced, and their socioeconomic life disrupted.
Wike recalled that while the period lasted, the national leadership of PDP refused to visit those communities as a way of identifying with Rivers people when it mattered most.
Governor Wike emphasised that even though the PDP national leadership refused to identify with Rivers communities, they gladly visited flood impacted communities in other States, and identified with them, which can now be interpreted that they hate Rivers State.
He said in retaliation of the hatred, and the mindset that Rivers State does not matter, the electorates will use the power of their permanent voters cards (PVCs) to “pepper” the PDP national leadership in the forthcoming election.
“You had a problem, a major problem. Ahoada West, Ahoada East, Abua-Odual, had a major flooding problem. After they’ll say we are in the same party. Is there anybody from the national of our party that came to visit Ahoada West, Ahoada East, and Abua?
“But they went to other states, which means that they don’t like us. If somebody says he doesn’t like you, will you force yourself on them?”
Speaking further, Governor Wike reassured the people of Ahoada West Local Government that his administration would deliver to them a fully reconstructed Government Secondary School, Okarki.
Governor Wike told them that the contract for the project was awarded long time ago and paid for in full, but their sons who got the contract failed to deliver on schedule.
He assured that the contract would be re-awarded and completed before his tenure ends on May 29.
Governor Wike urged the people not to allow ballot box snatchers in the area to outsmart them anymore particularly, now that the elections will be conducted electronically.
He harped on the need for massive mobilisation of the people per electoral unit, so that the voters will be aware of who to cast their votes for, and to make sure that PDP wins all the election for governorship, Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly.
“What I want to advise you this time is, don’t allow those ballot box snatchers in APC to try it again. Luckily, this election is not election of snatching ballot boxes or paper. It is election that will be done electronically and transmitted electronically. All we need from you is to mobilise your people unit to unit.”
In his address, Rivers State governorship candidate of the PDP, Sir Siminialayi Fubara, noted that because of the massive development projects delivered in the area by the PDP controlled State government, the party has first right of winning the election.
Fubara, therefore, urged the people to go and collect the remainder of their PVCs at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said with the PVCs, they can confidently vote into power the PDP consolidation team that will continue to deliver to them more development projects, education infrastructure and to sustain the security experienced in the area.
Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, who presented party’s flags to candidates contesting for the various elective positions, charged the people to ensure bulk delivery of winning votes to PDP.
Rivers State Deputy governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is contesting for Rivers West Senatorial District slot, spoke on behalf of the candidates and said sequel to excellent performance of Governor Wike in office, it is given that Ahoada West is faithful supporter of PDP.
She promised that when elected, they would commit to upholding the interest of their constituents and the State at large.
Before going to the campaign venue, Governor Wike had paid a courtesy visit to the Ahoada West Local Government Traditional Rulers Council under the chairmanship of Chief Moore Maclean Ubuo, the king of Engenni kingdom, to first introduce and secure royal blessings for Sir Siminialayi Fubara, as the incoming governor of the State.

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