Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi on Sunday inaugurated micro facilities valued at N500 million under the World Bank Community and Social Development Project (CSDP).
The projects are situated across the three senatorial districts of the state.
Bello commenced the projects’ inauguration with a completed cottage hospital and two motorised boreholes at Anyava and Agassa Uvette communities in Okene Local Government Area.
He also performed a foundation laying ceremony of a Skills Acquisition centre at Okene Community Secondary School (OCSS) in Anyava.
Represented by Director General, Government House Administration, Alhaji Shaibu Oricha, the governor lauded the partnership between the world bank and the State Government, valued at N500 million to provide basic social amenities to poor rural communities across the state.
”We started with commissioning of the clinic; the importance of health cannot be overemphasied because health is wealth, and you need to provide health facility for human being to exist, so that we can have a healthy environment.
”The second is water, these are two important social and basic amenities that are key to human existence.
”We are also doing ground- breaking of a Skills Acquisition Centre as a way of empowering the people of this area.
”If you are not healthy you cannot acquire skills, you cannot also exist without water, which we have just done.
”Any reasonable government should look into these key areas after providing security, the next thing to provide is social amenities, water and health,” he said.
Bello advised the communities to protect, maintain and sustain those facilities for their own benefits, while commending the CSDA for a job well done in mainstreaming the partnership in line with the New Direction blueprint.
The General Manager of CSDA, Mallam Dauda Momoh, said the agency was saddled with the responsibility of bringing the basic social amenities closer to the poor in the rural communities.
”The project is a World Bank Assisted Project, but not all states are benefiting from it. Kogi is one of the pioneering states because our governor showed interest in it.
”So far, this year alone, we have spent over N500 million in communities with over 100 micro- projects completed across seven focal local government areas and ready for commissioning,” Momoh said.
He said the 2019 benefiting focal local government areas are: Okene, Okehi, Ajaokuta, Olamaboro, Ibaji, Ijumu and Kogi/Kotonkarfe, while Yagba West, Kabba/Bunu, Adavi and Dekina had been added for 2020.
He said that the CSDA had at least two micro projects in every community with the amount not exceeding N10 million, disclosing the community contributed 10 per cent while the agency paid the remaining 90 per cent of the total project cost.
”The micro projects in Anyava and Agassa Uvette communities cost about N9.72 million. The projects are community-driven development after following the due process,”Momoh said.
In his goodwill message, Alhaji Aliyu Sadiq, the Odogidi of Ehebe, Okene, who spoke on behalf of the communities, commended the world bank and the State Government for the partnership, which, he said, would have tremendous impact on the lives of their people.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the areas of CSDA interventions in rural communities include: education, health, water, electricity, socio-economic development and rural roads to create access to markets.
Edited by: Philip Dzeremo and Abdullahi Yusuf
Kabba monarch urges traditional institutions, others, to partner to combat rape
The Obaro of Kabba, Oba Solomon Owoniyi, has called on traditional institutions in the country to collaborate and partner with other stakeholders to find lasting solution to rampant cases of rape in the society.
Owoniyi made the call on Friday in Kabba at the Kogi West Senatorial District stakeholders sensitisation workshop in preparation to participating in the public hearing on the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) bill.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the bill which is sponsored by the Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI) in partnership with ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) is billed for second reading at the Kogi State House of Assembly.
The Monarch lamented that lack or inadequate implementation had continued to negate enforcement of numerous extant laws prohibiting rape and violence against women in the country.
Owoniyi described rape as alien to the culture and tradition of the people and assured that any rape victim within his domain would surely get justice.
“I am a product of justice. That is why I am sitting on this throne as the Obaro of Kabba. God used Gov. Yahaya Bello who fears God and wants justice for his people to see that I am here today.
“It is against this backdrop, I will say that justice shall always prevail in our land. I won’t tolerate any act of criminality in my community,” he said.
Ms Eunice Agbogun, Executive Director of CPI, told the participants that the VAPP bill would make the society safe and free, adding that the bill had been passed in more than 13 states in Nigeria, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Agbogun further pointed out that the objective of the workshop was to sensitise relevant stakeholders on the need to adopt and domesticate the VAPP Act in the state and solicited their support for passage of the bill.
“During this pandemic, we had reports of many gender based violence. Women are not safe, grandma and many more were raped, spouses sent out of their homes, widows forced to drink water of their late husband body and many more.
“This does not speak well for our State, Kogi and our nation, Nigeria. Our girls and women are no longer safe. Women are being molested on daily basis. They can’t come out over fear of intimidation and stigmatisation.
“This has to stop. Women and children are not left out in violence. When there is a stringent law on ground, it will discourage any individual from indulging and perpetuating this crime,” she said.
“It will be a law and whoever contravened it and indulges in this despicable act of rape and such other acts, would be imprisoned for life or killed and this will serve as deterrent to others”, she added.
Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye and Abdullahi Yusuf
Floods: NEMA reactivates Humanitarian Coordination Forum in Kogi, urges residents to brace up for flooding
Speaking at the event in Lokoja, NEMA Head of Abuja Operations Office, Mr Bitrus Samuel, said that the reactivation of the forum was to ensure effective and efficient coordination of activities in the event of flooding.
He said that the forum would largely be responsible for the success of response to the disaster which might come with humanitarian crises.
Samuel explained that the forum, made up of critical stakeholders in disaster management, would develop strategies, identify funding requirement and set direction for the required response.
Going by the the 2020 flood outlook and flood prediction, Samuel said that the flood could have severe impacts on people, infrastructure, farming and fishing in Lokoja, Bassa, Ofu, Kogi, Ajaokuta, Dekina, Ofu, Idah, Ibaji, Igala-Mela.and Adavi local government areas of the state.
He urged the people in the council areas to brace up for a higher magnitude of flood similar to the 2012 experience, saying that the flood will come anytime from now.
The officeial cited the River Niger current flood level of 7.02 metres as a clear indication that the flood was on the way, saying that the country would be at the receiving end, being at the lower part of the river.
According to Samuel, the forum should quickly put in place search and rescue and response measures so as not to be caught unawares.
He also charged members to identify high grounds for use as camps for people that could be displaced as a result of the flood.
The News Agency of Nigeria members of the forum were drawn from the Red Cross, Navy, civil defence , media, marine police, fire service, Air Force, members of civil society and relevant ministries and departments.
Speaking at the event, the Special Adviser to Gov. Yahaya Bello on emergency and environment, Imam Salih Adams, described the reactivation of the forum as a timely intervention.
He also described it as a relief to residents were already griped with fear over the possible disaster.
Adams said that the state government under the leadership of Gov. Bello placed too much premium on life and property and had in line with this put in place measures to mitigate the effects of the flood.
He promised that government will make available all necessary needs and cooperation to the forum but harped on the need for members not to betray the trust reposed in them and ensure efficient use of resources that will be put at their disposal.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Visa Ban: Kogi government writes United States
The Kogi State Government has petitioned the United States on its visa restrictions for unnamed individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.
The state government letter, /25/, dated Sept. 16, signed by Mrs Folashade Ayoade, the Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, was addressed to the United States Ambassador to Nigeria.
Ayoade’s acknowledged copy of the letter received by the Embassy on Sept. 17, was made available to newsmen in Abuja on Friday, saying the letter was directed by the state governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.
The United States government had issued notice of visa restrictions to unnamed individuals responsible for undermining the Nigerian democratic process or for organising election-related violence.
The United States government said the visa restriction covered from the 2019 general elections in Nigeria through the off-cycle Nov. 2019 gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to the upcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo.
The United States Department of State emphasised that the fresh actions announced were specific to certain individuals and not directed at the Nigerian people.
It stated that the decision reflected the Department of State’s commitment to working with the Nigerian government to realise its expressed commitment to end corruption and strengthen democracy, accountability and respect for human rights.
However, Ayoade in the letter said: “Please note that for the purposes of this protest letter, we are only interested in the citations to the extent that they are referable to Kogi State and her citizens.
“For the most part, we concede that elections in Nigeria are complex affairs which will continue to require improvements for the foreseeable future.
“The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election was also not without its challenges.
“However, it is also crystal clear from critical and composite analyses of the records (official, media, observers, etc) of the Nov. 16, 2019 polls that regrettable incidents were limited to a few polling units.’’
The Kogi government, however, said that the overwhelmingly larger portions of the ballot were free, fair and credible.
“Further, and in line with Nigerian law, the few political parties and individuals who alleged widespread electoral malpractice had free rein to contest the outcome in court.
“They vigorously litigated their claims over a gruelling nine-month period, through a three-step hierarchy of courts, to the inescapable conclusion at the Supreme Court of Nigeria that the said elections satisfactorily complied with the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.”
Ayoade said the concern of Kogi government was not the prerogative of the United States to impose entry restrictions on anyone, for any or no reason.
She said that United States government’s concern was the misinformation which the timing and the mention of the Kogi election had created in the state, especially on the second term mandate freely bestowed on Bello by the people of the state.
“For instance, a United States-based blog, saharareporters.com, has made inflammatory publications in which it named Bello of Kogi State, among others, as a definite recipient of your visa restriction.
“Although you have named no names, accuracy is of no moment to them, just base political expediency, and they quote unnamed United States State Department sources to give credibility to what is otherwise unproven.”
Ayoade added that other players in the Kogi political space, including candidates and officials of opposition political parties which lost the elections and at the court now hold on to the United States reference to Kogi election.
This, according to her, had made the government’s usual post-election duty of reconciliation harder.
She concluded that Kogi government believed that the US with her commanding heights and much longer experience as the bastion of democracy in the world, ought to accord greater empathy and more civility to nascent democracies.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu
Floods sack over 70 communities in Kogi, displace over 50,000 persons
Flash floods from River Niger have submerged over 70 communities and displaced over 50,000 people displaced from their houses in different parts of Kogi.
Residents of some of the communities who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria in Lokoja on Thursday said that the communities had been experiencing massive flooding in the last five days.
They told NAN on the sidelines of a stakeholders sensitisation/advocacy meeting on 2020 flood that the flood had wreaked havoc in the affected areas.
One of the residents, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is also the Desk Officer in charge of ecological and emergency matters in Kogi Local Government Council, said that 66 communities had been submerged by flood in the area.
Abdullahi said that over 50,000 people had been forced to evacuate their houses and were now being accommodated in schools , filling stations and other makeshift buildings.
He said that some of the victims in Edeha and Koton Karfe communities had been sleeping on roads and other open places, co-habiting with mosquitoes and dangerous reptiles.
He said that schools had been closed as they had been converted to temporary camps for the victims, calling for urgent intervention from the State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The desk officer said that the victims had lost their means of livelihood to the flood, as their farms and livestock were also washed away by the rampaging floods.
Similarly, the Chairman of the Flood Committee in Ibaji Local Government Area, Mr Omonu James, said that floods had sacked thousands of residents from their houses in the area.
James said that the problem of the victims were compounded by the area’s terrain as it had no upland for them to relocate to .
Accordingly, he said, all the 26 schools in the council had been converted to camps for the displaced persons but said that the camps lacked basic facilities.
He said that one death, that of 17- year old Michael Egwuaba, had been recorded since the floods started, but that the number could rise if urgent measures were not put in place to mitigate the effect of the disaster on the people.
In Lokoja metropolis , many residents living along the bank of River Niger and other flood paths have been forced out of their houses by the floods.
The situation is said to be very grim in the suburb communities of Egan, Konami, Buzih, Ebwa , Even, Lagan Budan, and Gbuje where residents had been forced to relocate to the neighbouring Niger.
They appealed to the government to quickly come to the aid of the displaced persons , especially in the area of provision of water, drugs, blankets and mosquitoe nets for the victims.
Gov. Yahaya Bello who declared open the meeting said that substantial.amount of money had been released to purchase drugs, food, water and other relief materials for the victims.
Bello, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, also directed that 21,000 youths recently engaged under the Federal Government’s public works programme be deployed to help in the rescue operation.
He said that maximum security would be provided for the personnel involved in search-and-rescue operation , promising that more succour would be provided for the victims.
The NEMA Director in charge of training, Mr Mohammed Usman, said that incessant flooding had become a serious threat to the country’s efforts at becoming self sufficient in food production.
Usman said that nine local government areas in Kogi were among the 102 in the country that had been identified as highly probable risk areas for flooding in 2020.
He called on the state government to urgently take preventive and mitigative measures to reduce the impact of the flood on people and the economy of the state.
He said that NEMA would also in line with the Federal Government’s directive, assist the victims to find their feet and go back to farms as soon as possible.
Stakeholders at the meeting , including, the Red Cross, Navy, Civil Defence, Police, NIMET, fire services and the media all expressed their readiness to make their services available to the government.
The Navy, marine police, civil defence, Red Cross and the fire services assured that they had enough men and equipment on ground to confront the disaster.
Mr Julius Mejayan, Executive Secretary, KOSEMA, said that highlands had been identified and camps established across the nine local government areas prone to the disaster.
He listed the council areas as Bassa, Lokoja, Kogi, Omala, Idah, Ibaji, Dekina , Ofu and Igala-mela , warning that residents must be ready to move at any time from now.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf