A major flooding has rendered no fewer than 1,000 persons homeless in four communities in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra.
The Transition Committee Chairman of the council, Mr Arinze Awogu, confirmed the incident to newsmen in Awka on Monday.
Awogu also said that the flood submerged many farmlands in the area.
He said that the displaced families had relocated upland, due to the steady rise in the water level.
He said that the victims had yet to go into the Displaced Persons Holding Camp but taking refuge in the homes of their relatives.
He said that the crops had either been washed away or got rotten in the affected farmlands.
The council boss advised the victims to urgently move into the camps rather than wait until the disaster would get worse.
He said: “Ogbaru is gradually but steadily going under water, our farms have been submerged, especially the root crops.
“At least 1,000 persons were displaced from their homes and some victims decided to join their relatives upland, refusing to go to the holding camps.”
“We are afraid that by next week, the situation would get worse. You know we are riverine and our occupation is agriculture.”
Awogu said that streams in the area, which emptied into River Niger had started flowing backwards and had turned white in colour.
He described the situation as “a clear indication that the river level had risen and flowing into the communities”.
According to him, Atani, Akili-Ozizor, Odekpe, Ohita commutites have all been submerged by flood.
Awogu said that Community Secondary School, Odekpe, local government secretariat, Atani and St. James Anglican Church, Iyiowa, had been designated as holding camps.
NAN reports that the local government, which comprises 16 communities, is located on the bank of the River Niger, which made it prone to flooding.
During the 2018 flooding, 12 persons reportedly got drowned, while property and farmlands worth millions of naira were destroyed in the area.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Sam Oditah
Fayemi inaugurates steering committee on Open Government Partnership
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti on Monday inaugurated the steering committee of Open Government Partnership (OGP), to further demonstrate his administration’s commitment to open governance, transparency and accountability.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that OGP is an international multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at promoting open governance, citizen’s empowerment, fight corruption and harness new technology to strengthen member states.
Fayemi, who inaugurated the committee at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti, said the OGP initiative was in consonance with his restoration agenda as clearly spelt out in the five pillars of his administration.
The steering committee, which is to be coordinated by the Commissioner for Budget, Mr Femi Ajayi, had the Director General Office of Transformation and Service Delivery (OTSD), Prof. Mobolaji Aluko as member.
Special Adviser, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr O’seun Odewale; Permanent Secretary (Finance) Mr Folorunso; Permanent Secretary (Budget) Mr Adeleke Adefolaju; Accountant General, Mrs Titilayo Olayinka and Special Adviser, Mr Biodun Oluleye.
Others include: Prof. Oluwadare C.T, Olafunsho Olajide from Disability Not a Barrier Initiative; President, Ekiti Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), Chief Kola Akosile; and Representative of the Institution of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Mrs Agbaje.
Members of the steering committee, according to the Governor, were selected from civil society organisations, professional bodies, youth parliaments, public service and other interest groups.
This was to ensure more commitment from the government to promote open governance, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technology to strengthen governance in Ekiti State.
The Governor explained that his administration had always prioritised inclusion of the needs and aspirations of towns and communities in the State’s annual budgets
He said that the OGP initiative would increase collaboration between government and other stakeholders to improve the standard of living of the people in the state.
“The Open Government Partnership initiative will also promote more collaboration work within government by promoting mutual accountability, information sharing and coordination among MDAs.
“This will promote efficiency in government and delivery of the goals of the five pillars,” he said.
Fayemi explained that OGP would further strengthen his administration’s reforms in open budget, open contracting, revenue transparency, beneficial ownership transparency, assets disclosure, access to information, citizens’ engagement and empowerment.
Ekiti being the first State to join OGP in South-western Nigeria, Fayemi expressed delight that his administration’s efforts at deepening good governance and embracing inclusive participation were gaining recognition at international level.
According to him, as a responsible government, we always insisted that all government functionaries demonstrated understanding of accountability and transparency in their various activities.
“The policy areas are the right to information, gender and inclusion, digital governance and rights, protection of civic space and natural resources and fight against corruption.
“The OGP was launched in 2011 with eight (8) founding member government. In July, 2016 Nigeria, through the efforts of Open Alliance, joined the partnership as 70th member country.
“To deepen ongoing institutional and policy reforms in Ekiti State, we applied for membership of Open Government Partnership in October, 2019, the application was graciously approved,” he said.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Development, Mr Femi Ajayi stated that the initiative involved engaging citizens in governance, adding that the benefits of the partnership was enormous.
Ajayi said that such partnership, if well coordinated would cement the already cordial relationship between the government and the civil society.
Edited By: Josephine Obute/Felix Ajide
NCC set to commence cost-based review of new rates for International voice calls services
Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, Director, Public Affairs, NCC, made this known in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria.
Adinde said that as part of the process for the rate determination, the Commission has organised a virtual stakeholders’ engagement forum with relevant industry stakeholders.
He said that the meeting was to intimate them about the ongoing cost-based study and the need to cooperate with Messrs Payday Advance and Support Services Limited, the consultants engaged to carry out the study.
Addressing the stakeholders, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the study had become imperative following the various implementation constraints arising from contending industry and market dynamics that met previous efforts at finding an optimum price for the termination of international voice services in Nigeria.
Danbatta, said through the new ITR pricing, the Commission would be able to balance the competing objectives of economic efficiency and allowing operators the latitude to generate reasonable revenue.
He, however, explained that in 2013, the Commission issued a determination stating that Mobile Termination Rates (MTR) were the same irrespective of where the call originated from, adding that it was largely misconstrued by operators at that time that ITR should be the same rate as the MTR.
He said this led to operators ignoring the international cost portion, where ITRs were agreed at MTR level without a positive residual to cover the costs of the international leg for local operators.
“As a result of this, the ITRs continued to decline, in line with the MTR glide path and as the ITR was set in naira, it suffered a further downward slide in dollar terms following the currency devaluation.
“Ironically, the Nigerian operators paid the international operators in dollars to deliver international calls which created an imbalance of payments as the ITR in Nigeria declined,” he said.
Danbatta said Nigerian operators’ profitability and commercial results were negatively affected putting Nigeria’s ITR below that of most countries with which it made and received the most calls, thereby making Nigerian operators perpetual net payers.
“According to him, this has, therefore, led to undue pressure on the nation’s foreign reserves, which continued to get depleted by associated net transfers to foreign operators on account of this lop-sidedness.
“Hence the need for Nigeria, with volatile a currency to regulate the ITR to prevent or mitigate the imbalance of payments with international operators.
“Where ITR is not properly regulated, it tends to have negative effect on a market like Nigeria with major supply side challenges and associated socio-economic implications. So, setting a rate substantially above the MTR has resulted in a number of repercussions.
“One of such is the consumer shift to online channels as calls are increasingly made through Internet Protocol (IP)-based technologies such as Skype and WhatsApp because of high international call prices.
“To this end, an economically-efficient ITR that is cost-based will maximise economic benefits to all stakeholders,” he said.
Earlier in her remarks,NCC Director, Policy, Competition and Economic Analysis, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, said the forum was aimed at formally engaging with and sharing the perspectives and insights of industry stakeholders.
Akinloye said that it was also for ultimately enlisting their collective support in relation to the inputs and requirements towards the determination of a mutually- realistic ITR in Nigeria.
She noted that the project commenced on March 10, with a kick-off meeting but was stalled by the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, necessitating the need to explore emerging channels of engagement to move forward and ensure the completion of the project.
Akinloye reiterated the Commission’s commitment to continuously provide a conducive environment and level-playing field for the effective interplay of factors that would sustain market development and growth.
“This is addition to ensuring the provision of qualitative and efficient telecommunications regulatory services for the benefit of consumers and licensees,” she said.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa
Osinbajo Engages APC Social Media Influencers on hate speech
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government is ready to support youths to influence the passage of the hate speech bill presently before the National Assembly.
Osinbajo gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja while engaging the All Progressives Congress (APC) social media operators and influencers at a virtual meeting held at the party’s national secretariat.
The Vice President also assured that the government would not relent in expanding and sustaining youth friendly projects, including media platforms that would add value to the society.
Also speaking at the virtual meeting, Alhaji Ahmed Ismaeel, National Youth Leader of the APC, described the meeting as the first of its kind and very engaging, adding that the party would continue to organise such meetings from time to time.
He said the meeting was organised to particularly recognise the party’s online soldiers and media influencers, who had over the years, helped to shape public opinion on it.
Speaking on the party’s defeat at the just concluded Edo governorship election, Ismaeel said the party would do a postmoterm on the outcome of the election to know why it lost.
“We thought we had covered the grounds very well, but there was a blind side we didn’t see, the party intends to do a postmoterm on the election this week.
“We will conduct a postmoterm this week, to know how far and how we found ourselves in this kind of situation,” he said.
Ismaeel, who is also a member of the APC Caretaker and Reconciliation Committee, added that knowing that the party did not win the last presidential election in Ondo state, would make the election to be dicey.
He added that the state governor had, however, done what he needed to do in terms of reconciling aggrived party members, there was more to be done.
Ismaeel stressed that the party would not take anything for granted again, but would rather go out and fight to ensure that it retained Ondo State.
He said it was disheartening to note that for the first time since 2015, the APC doesn’t have a representative in the South South geopolitical zone again, adding that this was worrisome.
Ismaeel said while the party may have lost Edo state governorship election, it had to work hard, especially to ensure that it won the forthcoming Ondo State governorship election slated for October 10.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that about 100 APC media influencers participated at the event.
Nigeria like other developing nations have varieties of media technology through which information gets to the people.
Apart from the conventional media like Television, Radio and Newspapers, Digital media services such as email, social media sites, websites are among others playing the role of information dissemination.
The interface with the APC media influencers and its leadership was an opportunity to review performances and renew commitment, according to its organisers.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/Felix Ajide
NCDC, NIMR, partners to conduct COVID-19 antibody tests in 4 states
Abuja, Sept. 21, The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners are conducting anti-bodies household surveys in four states in Nigeria.
Speaking at the daily briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja, the Director general of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu said the tests are being conducted to better understand the burden of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria.
“These seroprevalence surveys, which will be carried out in Gombe, Enugu, Nasarawa and Lagos states would provide the best evidence yet, on the extent of COVID-19 infection in the country.
“The seroprevalence surveys are used to identify the occurrence of disease in a population by estimating the presence of antibodies in individuals who have had the disease.
“This is done by testing blood samples in randomly selected households in selected states.
“In addition to this, study participants will also have a rapid malaria test and receive treatment if the test is positive,” he said.
Ihekweazu, said, this is the first set of household surveys to be conducted for COVID-19 in Nigeria and as part of ongoing public health research activities.
“The surveys will increase the current understanding of COVID-19 transmission patterns, the burden of infection in the population, and the age groups most affected.
“This information will help inform COVID-19 response decisions by the Government of Nigeria and partners as part of measures towards ending the pandemic.
” The surveys will also estimate the proportion of people who have COVID-19 but are not showing any symptoms, that is asymptomatic.
“Through this, the country can identify risk factors for infection and measure the transmission of COVID-19 within households,” he explained.
By administering rapid malaria tests, he said, the surveys will also assess malaria infections and their possible relationship to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The results from the surveys, he added, will inform the response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Nigeria.
He also stated that the United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) and the University College London (supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) are supporting the NCDC and NIMR in implementing these surveys.
The News Agency of Nigeria, reports that the surveys will be conducted between September and November, and preliminary results are expected to be released by December 2020.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza https://nnn.ng/ncdc-nimr-partners-to-conduct-covid-19-antibody-tests-in-4-states/