Some Kaduna residents have lamented over the hike in the prices of food items, following the stay-at-home order imposed by the state government as part of measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
A crosss section of residents who spoke in separate interviews with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday said the rate at which prices of food items have risen, was alarming, as people could not longer afford food.
NAN reports that Gov. Nasir El-Rufai, had on March 23, ordered civil servants to work from home and later imposed curfew in the state on March 27.
A civil servant, Mrs Mary Isaac, said that traders had taken advantage of the current situation to exploit consumers.
“I came to the market to buy a bag of rice which was sold at N22,000 two weeks ago but to my surprise, I was told that a bag of rice was N27,000 and I had no option but to buy.
“I was able to buy, but what about others who can’t afford such amount, how will they cope?” she said.
Isaac appealed to traders to always think about other people when situations like that arose, as not everyone has the money to purchase things when prices go up.
Another resident, Musa Liman said he knew that traders would increase the prices of food items as such has been common with them “as they have no fear of God.”
He said it had not been easy for him to afford some of the food item because of the sudden increase in price, but said he and his family had to manage in order to survive.
According to Liman, the prices of corn, maize, tomatoes and rice have increased in just two weeks and even the traders with old stock have increased their prices without thinking of those who do not have the resources.
”People complained that the government do not care about the common man when it is the common man that lacked compassion for his or her neighbour,” he lamented.
He urged Nigerians to come together as one, in order to fight COVID-19 rather than starving one another to death through the increase of price of food items.
Liman, however, pleaded with the government to stop traders from the habit of increasing price of food items whenever the country is faced with situations.
A motorcyclist, Amos John, said it had not been easy to feed his family with the little money he saved since the state government gave a stay-at-home order as well as banned motorcycles from the road.
“I pray this situation will not lead me to beg in order to feed my family, because I do not know where I will get money as the prices of food items have increased and there is no work for me.
“If a measure of Garri can be sold at N300 as against its former price of N90, then how will people survive in this lockdown as this is an essential food item for most people,” he said.
John therefore advised the government to regulate the prices of food items in the market.
He however commended the Federal and State governments for their efforts in trying to stop COVID-19 from spreading.
“This is the time to help each other, as every Nigerian is in one way or the other affected by this pandemic, it’s not only those who have tested positive for it,” John said.
Edited By: Janefrances Oraka/Maharazu Ahmed
Environmental advocates call for total ban of plastics
Some environmental advocates have called on the Federal and State Governments to find alternative and innovative ways of ridding the environment of plastic wastes.
The advocates made the call during a clean up exercise at the Bonny Cantonment, Victoria Island on Saturday in Lagos.
The exercise was carried out to commemorate the International Coastal Clean up Day marked annually on every third Saturday in the month of September.
One of the advocates, Dr Leslie Adogame, Executive Director, Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), called for the ban of single use plastics in the country.
“The government has to take bold steps to ban single use plastics and replace them with alternatives.
“We can no longer continue to die when we are alive by ingesting microplastics; corporate entities must have a paradigm shift away from plastics.
“This is not a sustainable way; plastic is not part of our system, because it is injurious to life, health and all life chain of this world, ” he said.
Also, the founder, Beach Samaritans, an NGO, Ms Adesola Alamutu, urged people to be part of the solution by consciously taking a reusable bag when they go out shopping.
Alamutu said: “One of the things I believe people can do is, when they go shopping and are offered plastic bags, they should refuse.
“The more the people who refuse, the less the plastic bags being used and thrown away.
“Also, the government needs to do a lot of enlightenment, especially in the major languages to educate people on the need to carry their bags when going out.
“Government should also ensure people are charged for the plastic bags; that way, people may be discouraged from using it.”
Also, the Founder, Kids Beach Garden, an NGO, Ms Doyinsola Ogunye, said a lot of awareness creation should begin from homes, schools, religious institutions.
Ogunye said also that people need to be consistent and continue to do things to protect the environment in their own little spaces for as long as possible.
“We have young children and we need to let them know that plastic wastes littered everywhere and in our water ways is not the kind o environment to grow up, ” she said.
Also, Mr Omotola Soares, Secretary to the Local Government, Eti-Osa, Imoyi, Obalende Local Community Development Area, urged people to support the government by being responsible.
Soares said that the government had carried out a lot of programmes to ensure the environment was clean.
“The government cannot do it alone; we all need to work together and take responsibility of our environment, because the environment defines who we are, ” he said.
In his remarks, the Director, Media and Online Visibility, Humanity Nigeria, an NGO, Mr Akinola Onanuga said the organisation would be carrying out an enlightening programme from Nov. 24 on dangers of plastics.
He said: “We are bringing up the Earth Festival in order to rid the environment of plastics and enlighten people that these plastics can be recycled and made into wealth instead of throwing it away and causing harm.”
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Edo electorate hail INEC, security agencies
The people also lauded the security operatives deployed in the area for demonstrating maturity and professionalism during the exercise.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that INEC ensured timely distribution of electoral materials, followed by accrediction and voting in the area.
Mr Matthew Iduoriyenkenwen, the former state Commissioner in the Niger Delta Development Commission, who voted at Umelu Primary School Ward 5, comprising Units 26 and 27, said that materials arrived early in the area.
Iduoriyenkenwen also said that accreditation and voting commenced simultaneously on schedule and in an orderly manner in Unit 27.
He said that although materials arrived late at Unit 26, the development did affect the peaceful conduct of the exercise in the area.
Mr Amadi Osayande, a former Controller of Edo Correctional Centre, described INEC’s performance at the poll as impressive.
Osayande also said that the exercise was peaceful and orderly at Oka Market, Ward 8, Unit 37, where he voted.
Mr Martins Evbuomwan, who voted at Abico Market, Ward 7 with Units 1 to 13, also lauded the peaceful conduct of the exercise in the area.
The situation was also the same at Ivbeiye-nvea Primary School, Ward 5, Units 1 to 17 and St. Marria Goretti Secondary School, Ward 6, 13 to 18.
Mrs Esohe Aihamoje said that materials arrived early and that accreditation and voting commenced on schedule.
NAN reports that operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Corps and police were seen in all the polling units visited.
However, in Uhunmwode LGA, there were cases of card reader failure during accreditation in some of the polling units visited.
Although INEC officials and materials arrived early at Oke-Orhue, Ward 4, Units 3, the card reader for Unit 3 could not function during accreditation.
However, the malfunctioning card reader was later replaced and accreditation and voting commenced at about 11: 35 am.
A voter, Mr Reymond Oshogbe, expressed delight over the timely replacement of the faulty card reader, adding that the process was calm and peaceful.
At Ehor, Ward 1, the headquarters of Uhumwode LGA, the electoral process was also peaceful with large turnout of voters.
Edited By: Constance Imasuen/Sam Oditah
Edo poll: Gov. Wike commends INEC, security agencies for peaceful conduct
Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers on Saturday commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for the peaceful conduct of Edo governorship election.
Wike made the commendation while addressing journalists at Government House, Benin.
He said: “For now I don’t have power to announce results, but from the reports we are getting so far from the field, I think we are happy.
“I want to commend INEC so far for making sure that people voted in different polling units.
“I will also commend the security agencies so far for making sure that there was no much violence and if that continues I think it’s progress.
“Election is a process, the collation has not be done; it’s after the collation we can now give final conclusion of our appraisal.
“So far, I can say they ‘ve done well.
“What we are saying is that they should maintain what has happened and INEC should make sure that nobody tries to change the will of the people; that is what we are saying.
I think we are very happy with what we have now. I think we have over 2, 000 polling units results now.
“I think we are very happy and if it continues this way this election will be one of the best elections we will have had in Nigeria.
“It’s not just about voting. After voting, votes are counted and then you go for collation.
“This is the critical period and they should protect their collation centers wether at the ward level, local government level or state level so that everybody who has voted will be happy that there will must prevail.”
On the alleged sieged laid on him by over 300 policemen in his hotel room in Benin on Friday, he said the episode was now history.
“What happened yesterday has happened; you have seen me now, I have not left Edo,” he added
Edited By: Ejike Obeta
Vulture Day: NCF advocates Vulture Conservation
As the world marks the International Vulture Awareness Day, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Saturday underscored the importance of Vultures in the maintenance of balance in the ecosystem.
The NCF in a communique released after its five days webinar forum on Vultures and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos, noted that vultures were sanitary officers with a clean-up service on the environment.
Dr Joseph Onoja, Director of Technical Programmes, NCF, in his presentation, revealed that nature had bestowed on humanity vultures with the role of environmental sanitary officers with a clean-up service worth $11,000 a year.
Onoja said: “Without vultures, humans are vulnerable to the spread of infectious diseases, because in the absence of vultures, dogs and rats become the clean-up crew.
“’The danger in this is that these animals are not equipped for such and are close to human population, exposing us to diseases.”
In his presentation, Mr Aniekan-Abasi Emmah Uwatt, a conservation biologist and ornithologist, observed that human activities were the major drivers to the vultures’ threatened status.
He added that the world could suffer from negligence if something drastic was not done to preserve the remaining vulture species in Nigeria.
“Imagine a world without vultures, it will lead to disease outbreaks such as anthrax; rabies and botulism.
‘“We would also have dirty environment with dead carcasses and foul smells,” he said.
Another facilitator, Mr Apeverga Paul Tersoo, Lecturer, Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State , said that Vultures might not be very appealing by their looks, but these birds, also known as scavengers do the dirty jobs of cleaning our environment.
Tersoo said they do this by taking care of carcasses and preventing the spread of diseases, which in turn keeps the ecosystem healthy.
“’The importance of these natural environmental cleaners cannot be over emphasised because the benefits we derive from them for free will cost us so much that it can only be imagined.
“A case study is seen in India where a crash in the vulture population was observed after the birds fed on carcasses of livestock that were treated with Diclofenac.
“The Indian white-rumped vulture was the most hit, with a decline rate of 99.9 per cent.
“What followed was a surge in population of feral dogs that were infected with rabies from litters of carcasses as a result of the absence of our natural cleaners (the vultures).
“Consequently, an increase in human deaths from rabies nearly caused a public health catastrophe that saw the government of India spending about $34 billion to fight the spread of the disease,” he said.
Malam Samaila Mohammed Alkali, Airport Wildlife Hazard Management Coordinator, Kano Airport, said that aviation was a major threat to the survival of vultures.
“This is due to bird strike. Bird strikes occur when bird physically collide with aircraft,” Alkali said
According to him, approximately 10,692 vultures were killed by aircraft between 2008 and 2015, these may represent 1,500 Vultures killed every year for the period of seven years.
Meanwhile, in his presentation, Mr Adewale Awoyemi, Head of Forest Centre, Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan observed that the vanishing vultures had critical implications on human health and existence.
Awoyemi said that the destruction of their habitats by deforestation was a threat to vulture conservation.
International Vulture Awareness Day (IVAD) is celebrated on the first Saturday of September every year to reflect on the importance of vultures and the essential role they play in a healthy ecosystem.
It also aims at spreading awareness about range of threat facing vultures and urge the people to take action and prevent extinction of the ecological bird specie.
Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)