The Cross River Government on Thursday launched the 2022 Integrated Measles Vaccination Campaign in Calabar.
The campaign, which would run from Nov. 3 to Nov. 10, would feature the introduction of Rotavirus and COVID-19 vaccination.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that rotavirus is the most common cause of diarrhoeal disease among infants and young children.
Nearly every child in the world is infected with a rotavirus at least once by the age of five.
The Cross River Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, said at the launch of the campaign that measles is a dangerous disease for children and must be checked.
He added that “today, people are no longer worried about COVID-19, so, they no longer wear face mask or observe social distancing; this is contributing to the spread of preventable diseases that would have easily been prevented.
“We urge parents with children of between zero to five years of age who missed this vaccine to come forward and ensure that their wards are vaccinated against measles and diarrhea, while adults avail themselves of COVID-19 vaccination.
“This administration attaches 100 per cent attention to the issue of vaccination and hopes that residents would do same.
”Dr Janet Ekpenyong, the Director-General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), said measles is one of the major causes of infant and child mortality.
She commended the federal and state governmens for introducing the rotavirus vaccine, saying that “before now, the rotavirus vaccine was a scarce commodity, the only place you could get it was in private health facilities and you have to pay as much as N12,000.“So, we are excited that the Federal Government has made it possible that every child within ages of 0 to five years is vaccinated not just against measles but against rotavirus free of charge.
“For Cross River, we are targetting 700,000 children, we want to achieve 100 per cent coverage, so we have decentralised the process and it be taking place in markets, worship centres and schools to make sure no child is left behind.
”On his part, Dr Salisu Ibrahim, Representative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said Cross River Government was providing good leadership in the health sector but could do more with more support.
Ibrahim said while WHO is supporting the state in training healthcare workers and vaccine logistics, other stakeholders would assist with the vaccination process.
The Federal Government says it will partner with the states and the private sector, to develop the nation’s tourism to attract foreign tourists and investors.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Tuesday in Calabar at the unveiling of the theme of the 42nd edition of the World Tourism Day (WTD).
The News Agency of Nigeria reports World Tourism Day is celebrated each year on Sept. 27 to foster awareness on tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic values.
The 2022 celebration being hosted in Calabar, Cross River state capital.
has the theme “Retinking Tourism’’.
Mohammed noted that tourism the world over was recognised as a key contributor to job creation, sustainable economic growth, environmental Conservation and poverty alleviation.
He said the sector also acted as a catalyst for social equality and inclusivity as it provided women, youth and rural communities the means to support themselves.
The minister said the Covid-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact affected the tourism sector globally and made it to suffer a near collapse resulting in loss of jobs.
He said with the recovery from the pandemic, there was the critical need to transform the tourism industry as the global travel and tourism sector slowly recovered.
” I have no doubt that the time is right to begin this transformation and to rebuild the industry.
“The good news is that given the resilience of the tourism industry and its ability to recover quicker than other sectors, there is the need for more inclusive and sustainable recovery approaches to be adopted,” he said.
In achieving this, the minister said the Federal Government would partner with the states and the private sector in the industry to transform the sector.
Mohammed expressed appreciation to the state Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, for accepting to host the event.
He said it was a further demonstration of the governor’s zeal and enthusiasm for the development of tourism in the state as a tool for job creation, revenue generation and poverty alleviation.
The state Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu, who represented the governor at the ceremony, said the theme of the 2022 world Tourism Day was apt.
He said if tourism had been given adequate attention from both national and state levels it would have given the industry and the nation at large, a leap.
Esu, a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, said tourism should be accorded a stand alone in the ministry for more attention and development of the sector.
He thanked the Federal Government for finding the state worthy for the celebration of the 2022 Worlds Tourism Day. In an official message delivered at the event, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s Secretary General, Mr Zurab Pololikashvilli, said the potential of tourism was enormous.
In the message read by Mr Fola Coker, the Director-General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, the UNWTO boss added that each member-state had a share responsibility to make sure the potentials were fully realised.
He called on tourism leaders and everyone in the base of the broad and diverse tourism pyramid to pause, reflect and rethink what to do to develop the sector.
Other officials at the event were, the Directors-General of Nigeria Institute of Hospitality and Tourism, Nura Kangiwa, National Commission for Museum and Monument – Prof Isa Tijani and National Gallery of Art, Ebeten Ivara.
Others are the D-G, National Broadcasting Commission Balarabe Ilela, the General Manager, National Theatre, Prof Sunday Ododo, Artistic Director and CEO National Dance Troupe, Ahmed Mohammed as well as Directors in the Ministry.
One thousand Cross River youths from the three senatorial districts on Monday received laptops and starter packs from the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) after a training programme.
The trainees are also expected to receive N120,000 as stipends, a shop each and registration of business names which were selected for the training in phone repairs, hardware, software and entrepreneurship development.
During the graduation ceremony of the trainees in Calabar, Mr Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary, NCDMB said in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, mobile technology had become an indispensable tool.
He said that the telecommunication industry was one of the fastest growing in the nation and was contributing massively to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“According to data from Nigeria Communications Commission and Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s tele-density grew from 1.89 per cent in 2002 to 102.47 per cent in 2021.“Similarly, Nigeria’s total subscription to the network now stands at 195 million while the number of android phone users now stands at 56 million,” he noted.
He appealed to the trainees to effectively use what they have learnt, adding that their involvement in the programme had the capacity to increase the GDP of the nation.
On his part, Mr Legor Idagbo, Chairman, Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Committee in the House of Representatives, noted that similar programmes had earlier been held in Kano, Kaduna, Bauchi, Jigawa and Yobe states.
Idagbo, representing Bekwarra, Obudu and Obanliku Federal Constituency of Cross River, facilitated the initiative, saying the selection of the trainees was random and apolitical based on those that applied.
While reeling out the benefits of the programme for the trainees, he told them that the ball was in their courts, adding that they would only succeed by practising what they had been taught.
“It is the mindset that you have that will make you succeed; I want to challenge you to ensure that we see 50 to 60 per cent success from this training,” he said.
Similarly, Gov. Ben Ayade advised the beneficiaries to use the equipment they would be receiving to make their lives better while becoming entrepreneurs.
Represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, the governor appealed to the beneficiaries not to sell what they have been given but use them to their betterment and that of the state.
“Use what you have been given well, don’t sell them, they are for your good.
“The state is giving you three years tax exemption, access to funds, different initiatives from the Federal Government and protection from multiple taxation,” he said.
Accelerated Agricultural Development SchemeProf. Ivara Esu, the Deputy Governor of Cross River, says the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) is a loan and not a political largess.
Esu told beneficiaries on Tuesday in Clabar at the inauguration of the scheme and training of beneficiaries in the poultry value chain in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that AADS is an initiative to address food insecurity and youth unemployment challenges in Nigeria.
The scheme, introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) was aimed at engaging 370,000 youths in agricultural production, in collaboration with state governments.
Represented by Mr Timothy Akwaji, Cross River’s Head of Service, the deputy governor said although the beneficiaries would be given money, it was meant for the running of the poultry farm until the birds were matured and were off-taken by the state government.
He said if the beneficiaries invested positively, they would make profit and as they paid back the loans, others would benefit.
“The scheme may not be able to reach out to everybody at once but if they reach out to you today, try and pay back so others would benefit to make Cross River an agricultural value chain hub in the nation.
“Before now, Cross River was known as a civil service state but with the inception of the present administration, it decided to develop agriculture where the state has a comparative advantage,’’ he said.
Also speaking, Dr Aniefiok Umoren, the Zonal Coordinator, South-South Development Finance Activities of the CBN said they were happy to partner with Cross River in the AADS.
Umoren maintained that the role of the CBN was to provide access to funding of critical sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and others to enhance the economy of the nation.
He said the bank was not comfortable with the rate of unemployment of youths in the country and were trying their best to change the narrative.
“Nigeria’s population is increasing at three per cent per annum but agriculture is not growing at the same pace, so the purpose of AADS is not only to boost agricultural production but to also increase youth employment.
“I appeal that when you get the loan, use it wisely and try and pay up because your Bank Verification Number (BVN) has been taken to ensure that the loans are repaid,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Jacob Udida, the chairman of AADS in the state said, “whether you are an unemployed youth or civil servant, you are welcome to join the scheme as long as you meet the requirements.
’’ According to Udida, for you to qualify, you are expected to open an account with Fidelity Bank and own a poultry farm that could accommodate at least 1,000 birds.
“We want to ensure that we feed the Cross River Chicken Processing Plant (Calachika) that would be the off-taker and also make our youths productive,’’ he said A beneficiary at the training, Mr Philip Adim who spoke to NAN described the initiative as laudable but expressed worry if the project would be sustained.
By Georges Odok
Cross River Governor Ben Ayade has ended the Federal Road Safety Corps' 2021 Ember Months campaign in Calabar, the Nigeria News Agency reports .
Ayade, who was represented by his deputy Prof Ivara Esu, said the campaign aimed to educate and educate the automotive public on highway safety awareness.
The governor, who noted the campaign was timely, added that the smoldering months were generally loaded with high vehicular activity across the country.
He said he was satisfied that the campaign will make the roads safer for road users in the state, thereby reducing traffic accidents.
“Road safety is a cardinal aspect of our safety and security index. Ember Month is notorious for road accidents, therefore this campaign is timely.
“I must congratulate the Cross River FRSC for taking the bold step of increasing safety on the highways. We expect to see a significant reduction in traffic accidents this year so that we can better assess this campaign.
“We all need to be involved in the maintenance and safety of our roads. Drivers and road users should soak up road safety measures and reduce speed on our highways, ”he said.
Speaking earlier, the commander of the FRSC sector in Cross River, Mr. Ocheja Ameh, said the end of the year is usually associated with high mobility of vehicles and people across the country, resulting in preventable road accidents.
Ameh said that FRSC, as the leading agency in the administration of road safety and traffic management in Nigeria, the campaign presents a unique road safety concern to them and to the people they were created to protect from the debilitating effects of the consequences of road traffic in Nigeria.
He said that the theme of the ember months of 2021 had been judiciously chosen as “Maintain a safe speed, avoid night trips and enjoy a quality road experience”.
“Traffic incidents during the Ember Month period can be attributable to a number of reasons which are directly or indirectly related to the perception of the individual.
“This particular concern was noted by FRSC overtime and has been systematically addressed through the Special Ember Months Disconnect Operations platform.
“The essence of this strategy is to complement other effective mechanisms that have been used during the year to eradicate preventable traffic accidents.
"The ultimate goal is to achieve the strategic corporate goals of the Corps of reducing traffic accidents and fatalities by 15% and 20%, respectively," he said.
According to him, the Corps has educated the automotive public to avoid nighttime travel, speed, dangerous overtaking, overloading and unruly tracks.
“The FRSC is working tirelessly to ensure that all local governments and Cross River commands are mobilized enough to achieve a near-zero road fatality rate during the smoldering months,” he added.
In his remarks, FRSC area commander Mr. Chidiebere Nkwonta said the campaign aims to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.
Nkwonta added that the Corps is partnering with key state stakeholders to achieve the goal of reducing traffic accidents.
By George OdokThe Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has empowered some residents of Cross River with equipment that would engage them in self-sustaining businesses.
The agency also donated food and non-food items to Internally Displaced Persons in the state.
The items donated include bags of rice, oil, garri, yams, noodles, mattresses and others.
Grinding machines, tricycles, motorcycles, sewing machines, vulcanising machines, water pumping machines and sugarcane extractor machines were distributed to promote small scale businesses.
Speaking at the occasion on Friday in Calabar, Director of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, said the agency was in Calabar to give succour to the displaced persons and also promote small scale businesses.
Jamoh, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy, Mr Ubong Essien, said that the agency was reaching out to Nigerians and helping them in the face of the daunting socio-economic circumstances.
The DG noted that the government cannot function and achieve everything alone, hence the need for the agency’s support to make the society a better place.
“We want to raise awareness about the dire conditions of the less privileged among us, to provoke society’s attention at the levels of government, organisations, and individuals on the need to continually lend a helping hand to this category of citizens.
“At NIMASA, we have an integrated support system in place, which is in the form of care for IDPs, capacity building and educational support as part of our cardinal points of the agency.
“NIMASA’s Corporate Social Responsibility intervention programmes are spread across the country, today is the turn of Cross River.
“NIMASA has brought some bare essentials to help the poor and support the weak among us. There are also economic empowerment tools meant to enhance the capacity of citizens to be contributing as functional members of the society,” he said.
Mr Princewill Ayim, Director-General of Cross River State Emergency Management Agency, thanked NIMASA for choosing the state to benefit from their CSR.
Ayim said that the number of IDPs in the state was growing at an alarming rate due to continued cases of communal clashes, flooding and other natural disasters.
Deputy Governor of the state, Prof. Ivara Esu, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, thanked the Federal Government for the donation to the IDPs.
He urged other corporate organisations to emulate the kind gesture of NIMASA in providing succour to the IDPs.
One of the beneficiaries, Mr Etim Okon-Ene, thanked NIMASA for always remembering them, adding that their support have been consistent.
The Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd), has charged graduands of the Naval Warfare Course 4 to imbibe practical and pragmatic approach to overcoming security threats in the country.
Magashi gave the charge on Friday in Calabar during the graduation ceremony of 21 participants of the Naval War College Nigeria (NWCN) Course 4.
The Minister, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olanisakin, said that Nigeria has been beset with threats that have affected the overall security of the nation.
According to him, the threats were not peculiar to Nigeria alone, adding that it was a manifestation of the “fifth generation warfare” also known as “hybrid warfare”.
He explained that the Armed Forces of Nigeria was engaged in operations across the country to curtail the myriads of security challenges.
He charged the graduands to understand and situate themselves in the ever changing character of conflicts and the complexities of the global contemporary security environment.
“The expected training outcomes would be seen in the capacity of the graduands, as they imbibe practical and pragmatic approach to overcoming security threats to our existence as a nation.
“I avail this opportunity to salute the efforts of the Armed Forces and indeed the Nigerian Navy for its significant contributions towards improving national security both in the hinterland and across the nation’s maritime domain,” he said.
Speaking, the Commandant of NWCN, Rear Adm. Adeseye Ayobanjo, said that the mission of the College is “to develop senior naval leaders and equivalent from other services as operational level commanders with thorough appreciation of complex national security problems, who are prepared to make sound decisions in the application of maritime force as a policy option”.
He said that to achieve the mission, the College is mandated to run various courses, one of which is the Naval Warfare Course and with its participants drawn from the Navy, Air Force and Navy.
“Today graduation ceremony formally mark the successful completion of yet another Naval Warfare Course which is the fourth since the establishment of the College in May 2017.
“So far, the college has trained and graduated a total of 47 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Course 1 had 15 officers, Course 2 had 14 officers and Course 3 had 18 officers.
“Today, the 21 graduands of Naval Warfare Course 4 will be joining the list of the Naval Warfare graduates of the Naval War College Nigeria.
“The Naval Warfare Course 4 commenced online on April 24th 2020 after an earlier postponement due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic in the country
“Subsequently, the participants assembled in Calabar on same June 2020 following the relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown by the Federal Government,” he said.
Naval warfare Course 4 is made up of 21 participants, comprising of 18 officers of the Nigerian Navy, two from the Nigerian Army and one from the Air Force.
He charged them to show exceptional character of the NWCN as they return to sea, land and air services.
In his goodwill message, Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu, thanked the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy in Calabar for its contribution towards peace building in the state.
He added that the graduation ceremony showed the importance the naval authority placed on training.
NAN reports that the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas and other Service Chiefs in the state were in attendance.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
The Federal Ministry of Environment has expressed its readiness to support the Cross River Government in environmental restoration with a view to protect its biodiversity.
Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, said this in Calabar, when he paid a courtesy visit to the state Deputy Governor, Prof. Ivara Esu on Tuesday.
Abubakar said that his working visit to the state was to look at the ecological issues and the state dump site with a view to explore ways through which the Ministry can support the state in tackling the issues.
“The Federal Ministry of Environment is extending a hand of working relationship in terms of environmental restoration to Cross River.
“We just sent a team on waste management to the state, they have brought back the report and we are still looking at it to see how we can work together.
“Also, the Ministry has donated 1 million tree seedlings to the state to enhance the restoration of our environment,” he said.
He said that issue of mangrove in the state would also be looked at, adding that mangroves are special specie of trees that are significant worldwide.
The Minister explained that the Federal Ministry of Environment was saddled with the responsibility of looking at ecological issues across the country.
“Different parts of the country have different ecological issues and we will take a look at that based on what is in each state, then draft a report for collaboration and cooperation in order to maintain the quality of our environment.
“Our aim is to make sure that we protect the environmental resources while utilising them for this generation and beyond.
“We have the Cross River National Park in the state and that park is our most important national park because of biodiversity issues and Cross River currently represents that as an apex state for biodiversity.
“The park came into existence in 1991 with five other national parks in the country and Cross River is the very best that we are proud of because it is the oldest surviving park in Nigeria due to its biodiversity issues,” he added.
The Minister described the Cross River National Park as one of the oldest forest in Africa, containing the oldest survival of plants in the world.
According to him, the Park is rightly acclaimed to be the riches part of Nigeria biodiversity and on the part of United Nations, it is a biodiversity hot spot in the world.
Responding, Esu lauded the Minister for having a special interest in helping the state to tackle its environmental challenges.
The Deputy Governor, who commended the state Commissioner for Environment, Mr Mfon Bassey for sustaining the clean and green status of the state, said Cross River harbours 58 per cent of the remaining tropical rainforests in the world.
He thanked the Minister for the donation of the 1 million tree seedlings, adding that Cross River usually plant trees every year during the “Green Carnival to sustain the environment”.
He appealed to the Miniter to intervene in the ecological issues in the state with a view to restore the environment.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
The authorities agreed on measures to restore the status of the zone when Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, NEPZA Managing Director visited Cross River Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, in Calabar.
A statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications, NEPZA on Friday said Adesugba had embarked on a three-day working visit to Calabar to ascertain the state of the zone.
The managing director said there was urgent need to restore the status of the zone.
This, he said, would be in line with the initial thoughts of the Federal Government for it to be a special business enclave to spark up economic growth and industrialisation of both the southern region and the country.
Adesugba said that the zone was now a shadow of its former state, as a total of 33 enterprises out of about 65 in the zone had left.
“What we have seen is a sad commentary and measures must be taken very urgently by both the state and the authority to revamp the zone.
“ The status of Calabar as the first capital of the Nigeria and its location as a coastal city had encouraged the Federal Government to site the zone here in the first place.
“But the worst has happened here. It is about time we came together to change the narrative, as the zone still holds a lot of promises’’, he said.
Adesugba said the authority was prepared to partner with the state to develop a workable strategy to reposition the zone, and a joint committee would be constituted to midwife the process.
“We have done similar thing with the Lagos State Government and that has deepened the trust level between us and the state significantly. We will, through this synergy, begin to appreciate the FTZ concept better.
“I will like to reiterate that the scheme is a global economic concept and not a Nigerian creation. If we can tame the zone very well, both the state and the country will experience unimaginable economic growth.
“The Cross River government must seek to leverage on the gains inherent in the scheme’’, he said.
On the deplorable state of some of the federal roads in the state, the NEPZA boss said President Muhammadu Buhari had demonstrated the political will to rehabilitate most of them.
He said that the state could also intervene to reduce the infrastructure deficit outside the zone.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, had commended the president for appointing Adesugba as head of NEPZA.
He said that the development had re-awakened the interest of investors in the scheme.
Ayade said the Calabar free trade zone was meant to be the flagship of the country’s zones scheme, and the state was prepared to partner with NEPZA to tackle some of the challenges facing the zone.
He said that the zone was a huge investment of the Federal Government that the state had helped to protect over the years, adding that urgent measures were truly required to salvage the zone.
“ We are committed to joining forces with NEPZA and other relevant stakeholders to remodel the zone’s operations with a view to eliminating the encumbrances that continue to force investors out of the place,’’ Ayade said.
Meanwhile, the authority has also agreed to partner with the Cross River Chamber of Commerce and the state branch of National Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) to boost investmemt.
The partnership would leverage on the platform provided by the Gulf of Guinea Commission to attract investment into the Calabar zone.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Oluwole Sogunle
The Cross River Government and Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) have entered into a partnership on road safety management to reduce road traffic accidents across the state.
They agreed to partner on Tuesday in Calabar, when the Corps Marshal of FRSC, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, paid a courtesy visit to the Deputy Governor of Cross River, Prof. Ivara Esu.
Oyeyemi said he was in the state to access the preparedness of the operatives of the corps for the “ember months’’ patrol.
He explained that the tour was also to enable him access areas where the corps could improve upon and the needed logistic to be deployed.
The Corps Marshal said that the visit would also afford him the opportunity to access the challenges on the Calabar-Odukpani-Itu highway in order to determine personnel and other logistics to be provided.
“We just commenced the ember month patrol and Calabar is my first point of call to help us access the level of preparedness and where we can improve upon, especially the Calabar-Odukpani-Itu highway.
“We will also see the super-highway project which is being done by the state government so that we can offer possible assistance on the issue of signage along the road for safety,’’ he said.
He said that the corps had increased advocacy and enlightenment, including motor park rallies within the ember month because of increase in vehicular movement during the period.
“This is ember month and we have increased the level of our advocacy and enlightenment. We got it right last year (2019), this year (2020) will be an improvement over our strategy of 2019,’’ he added.
He called on the state government to set up a modern driving school in the three Senatorial Districts of the state to enhance drivers’ education.
Responding, the deputy governor assured the Corps Marshal of government support in all their activities across the state.
He pledged the state government readiness to provide road signs within Calabar metropolis to ease access and safety.
Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Ismail Abdulaziz