Niger Delta

Community leader seeks speedy repair of collapsed Elebele bridge



Chief John Jacobs, a community leader in Elebele, Ogbia Local Government Area, Bayelsa, on Friday appealed for the speedy repair of Elebele bridge, which collapsed on Thursday.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the bridge, which connects the state capital, Yenagoa, to Ogbia, Nembe and Brass caved in when a truck laden with crushed granite was crossing to a construction site.

The development left scores of vehicles on both sides of the bridge stranded, while residents gathered to watch the truck which fell into the river.

“This bridge is very important to us because this is the only road to and out of our community; it leads to the oilfields across Ogbia land and it is here that oil was first discovered in the whole West African region.

“Our people rely on the bridge to convey our agricultural produce to the state capital as well as other economic activities, so, you can see that the bridge is strategic to us all.

“We appeal to the state and Federal Government and to Shell to swing to action immediately because we have no alternative.” Jacobs said.

NAN gathered that the bridge was constructed in 1986 by Shell Petroleum Development Company to gain access to its oilfields in the area. (NAN)

Edited by Gregg Mmaduakolam/Oluwole Sogunle


COVID-19: Rural dwellers ignorant of pandemic — Community leader




A Community leader in Anambra, Chief James Uyamadu, says most rural dwellers in Anambra have yet to come to terms with the reality of COVID-19 spread in the state.

Uyamadu said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , on Sunday in Igbakwu, Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra.

NAN reports that Ayamelum is an agrarian clan in Anambra and predominantly rural.

The community leader said that the state Task Force committee on COVID-19 needed to step up its enforcement measures jointly with communities if the virus must be contained within the state.

“This time should not be business as usual because we have got a challenge in our hands, which if we fail to face squarely may wipe out the people of the state.

“There is need for government to keep a close eye on the activities of the COVID-19 task force team, so that they are made to be on their beats for greater results,” he said.

Uyamadu said that a high level of ignorance of the reality of the deadly virus among rural dwellers existed adding that vigorous sensitisation needed to be given to them through various channels.

“It is a feat that needs to be tackled fast before the wild spread of the virus gets into the communities of the state and wipe out the residents.

“The churches, kindred meetings, age grade meetings, among other channels are required to be engaged well for a high positive result to be achieved,” he said.

Uyamadu said that ignorance of the existence of the virus among the people especially the rulers dwellers would remain a major factor responsible for community transmission if not checked.

“As a catechist in Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, Igbakwu, I have had various encounters with people and with my interactions with them, majority of the rural dwellers believe that Coronavirus does not exist.

“Across the state, common belief of the people is that the issue of the Coronavirus does not exist.

“To them, it is a scam and a platform for siphoning the nation’s wealth by the government,” he said.

“Government should help matters and operate in a very open manner as well as create awareness against stigmatisation and explain how the virus moves.

“This is important so that people who contract it will not be seen as evil persons,” he said.

He said that the traditional ruler of the community, in his efforts to support government on the fight against the virus, had continued to use local town criers to inform the people about their parts in the fight.

Uyamadu urged religious leaders to dwell more on informing the people about the existence of the virus in the state and the need for them to observe the precautionary measures to avoid the spread in the communities.

“The relaxed measures do not imply non existence of the virus. This must be drummed into the ears of the people in the manner they would understand,” he said.

Uyamadu also said that the community leaders should educate the people on the COVID-19 law and advise them to strictly observe the rules and regulations put in place by the governments.

He said observation of social distancing, hand washing with soap and running water, use of sanitisers, as well as the use of face masks should be well talked about.

He urged religious leaders to keep a service at a time which should last for only one hour while burial rites performers should keep to the 30 persons per gathering rule.

Uyamadu said that more stringent measures needed to be applied for huge success to be achieved in the fight against COVID-19.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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General news

OMS  engages 820 youth for pipeline surveillance in Delta — Community leaders



The Host Community Leaders to the  Ocean Marine Solution (OMS) Ltd., on Friday said the company had engaged engagedno fewer than 820 persons on the surveillance of the Trans Forcados Pipeline (TFP).

The leaders said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Warri.

The Statement was jointly signed by leaders of some of the communities, including Mr Ete Omatsuli (Ubeji), Mr Jonah Akpofure (Oteri-Ughelli) and Mr Ben Esi (Uviamuge-Agbarho) among others.

The leaders said that the development had entrenched peace in the riverine communities, adding that the public should disregard the misleading publications by some “faceless organisations” in the social media against the company.

TFP is owned by Shell and it runs across communities in Ughelli North, Ughelli South, Okpe, Uvwie, Warri South, Warri South-West and terminates at the Forcados River Manifold in Burutu Local Government Area.

“All the undersigned Presidents-General, leaders of the TFP and host Communities have been drawn to a misleading publications by some faceless organisations in the social media over the management of the TFP surveillance job by OMS.

“We make bold to affirm that the reports are based on selfish interest and designed to cause disaffection and crisis in the peaceful riverine communities in Delta.

“For the avoidance of doubt, OMS has engaged about 820 persons on surveillance of TFP through the duly elected Community Presidents General, youth leaders and elders in the host Communities,” the leaders said.

They said that the enabling environment enjoyed by the company had transcended into increased production.

The leaders commended the Chairman of OMS, Mr Hosa Okunbo, for the good work and urged the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to support the company. 

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
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General news

Disability Community wants 5% employment in Kaduna state



The Disability Community and relevant stakeholders have advocated for five per cent allocation of employment and social protection interventions to persons with disability in Kaduna State.

They made the demand in a communiqué issued in Kaduna on Friday, at the end of a virtual stakeholder’s engagement with the theme, “Covid-19: Strengthening Social Inclusion and Protection for Persons with Disabilities”.

The meeting was organised, by the Disability Community and the Coalition of Associations for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development (CALPED), in collaboration with other partners.

The communique was signed by Mr Suleiman Abdullazeez, Chairman, Disability Community, Kaduna State, Mr Rilwanu Mohammed, Chairman, Physically Challenged Association.

Other signatories were Risikat Mohammed, Executive Director, Women with Disability Self Reliance Foundation and Mr Yusuf Goje, Head, Leadership, Governance and Advocacy, CALPED.

The stakeholders expressed worries that the issues of disability community were still being addressed as charity by the society instead of a right.

They also pointed out that political, economic, and social discrimination against disability community had continued unabated in spite of the existing laws and policies put in place to discourage discrimination.

The stakeholders also observed that the disability community was not adequately carried along, especially in the planning and formulation of government policies.

According to them, people with disability are only consulted during town-hall meetings, which hinder them from taking ownership of government plans and programmes affecting them.

“Also, releases and cash-backing of budgetary allocation for line items concerning the disability community is grossly inadequate.”

They called on the state government and the state assembly to prioritise issues of persons with disability in the ongoing review of the 2020 budget and ensure timely releases of allocated funds.

They pledged to initiate an advocacy campaign to ensure adequate stakeholders’ engagement to accelerate the passage of the Kaduna State Disability Rights Bill into law.

“If enacted, we will strengthen multi-stakeholder synergy and collaboration to ensure full implementation and regular review of the law.

“We will equally collaborate with media organisations to introduce specialised programmes to specifically advocate for issues affecting the disability community.

“We have also resolved to initiate a network made up of disability community, civil society organisations, media and development partners, to advocate for quality service delivery to the disability community,” they said.

The stakeholder commended the state government for the support so far to persons with disability, particularly the ongoing efforts to mainstream the disability community into the governance process.

They also lauded the newly introduced scholarship scheme for the disability community and ongoing efforts to generate a database of all persons living with disability in the state.

Edited By: Cecilia Odey/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
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General news

Computer Village: Community seeks LASG intervention over looming crisis



Mr Timi Davies, Vice Chairman, Ogunbiyi CDA, who also doubled as the chairman of coalition of associations in Computer Village, told newsmen on Wednesday that his people were tired of constant harassment on residents by thugs.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the traders shutdown the biggest ICT market on Saturday in protest against constant assault on the people by some hoodlums.

Trouble started on Saturday when the CDA erected a gate at Idowu Lane in the market which was allegedly removed and carted away on the order of the Iyaloja who also ordered the arrest of t two men, including the CDA Chairman.

Davis urged the state government to come to their aid and intervene before the matter degenerated into major crisis in the community.

He said, “This is an ICT business hub, this is not a market where they sell pepper and tomatoes, therefore, installing Babaloja and Iyaloja here is a misnomer. Computer Village do not belong to the market women association for Christ’s sake.

“We have made our position clear that we do not want these people, they do not represent us because we have our own different associations to which we belong.

“Moreover, they have continued to harass and assault people here to the extent that customers are already running away from the business environment for fear of being harassed.

What happened Saturday is that the CDA erected a gate at Idowu lane to protect the market from burglars which was witnessed during the lockdown.

“We approached the local government, being our supervising body, and we were given the approval, but in the evening, Iyaloja sent hoodlums to remove the gate while she also ordered the arrest of the CDA chairman and others.

“Their offence for being arrested was that they didn’t take permission from Iyaloja and Babaloja before erecting the  gate to protect their goods from being stolen.”

Davis said that the traditional title of Iyaloja or Babaloja did not give them the permission to govern the community which was under the CDA created by law of the state.

He called on the state government to intervene to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the area.

Reacting, the Iyaoloja of Computer Village market, Mrs Abimbola Azeez-Isokpehi said “the Idowu Lane where the gate was erected had always been part of Computer Village.”

Azeez-Isokpehi said there were archs built by TECNO mobile with sign boards of Iyaloja which was erected at all the entrances of Computer Village.

“Suddenly, some people just thought they can cordon off Idowu Lane, claiming it is not part of Computer Village and they want to be alone.

“These unscrupulous elements wanted to try my authority by removing Idowu Lane as part of Computer Village.

“That was why they went to erect the gate there without my knowledge and I cannot be looking for people who hold the keys to the market when I am in charge,” she said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
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