A non-governmental organization, Neighborhood Environment Watch-Foundation (NEW-F), has called for intensive rights awareness campaign for the mineral-bearing communities in Ebonyi.
Dr Kelechi Okezie, the Executive Director of NEW-F, made the call in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Abakiliki on Thursday.
Okezie regretted that most of the host communities were allegedly being short-changed and deprived of their right to enjoy the benefit accruing to their area from mining operations due to their ignorance.
He said that mining falls under the exclusive list of the constitution, adding that Nigeria is a signatory to extant international laws governing mining activities.
Okezie said that proper knowledge of the laws was necessary to reduce restiveness, violent agitations and killings in the host communities.
He said that the companies were exploiting the ignorance of the host communities, hence could not discharge their corporate social responsibility to them.
He said: “Apart from local laws guiding mining activities in Nigeria, there are also international laws that govern mining operations.
“So, building the capacity of the host communities is essential to equip them with the knowledge of their rights.
“The knowledge they have will enable them to enforce compliance among the mining companies in their areas within the context of the law.
“When people know their rights and begin to demand for these rights using legal instruments it will reduce conflicts, needless agitations and everything will become open and transparent.
“So, what the mining or mineral-bearing communities will do is to get knowledge of the rights governing mining operations, know how to go about appropriating these laws to the advantage of the communities.
“Again, the knowledge of their rights will help them in drafting the Community Development Agreements (CDAs) as well as knowing what steps to take to make such agreements enforceable.”
Okezie expressed readiness of the NGO to partner any host community, whose rights to justice were being denied.
“We will build their capacity to know these laws and how to enforce them within the framework of these local and international laws and the service will be offered free of charge.
“The enforcement of the laws will make mining companies and leadership of the host communities to be transparent in their dealings,” Okezie said.
He further said that the enforcement would help to save the environment against the harmful impact of mining operations and promote environmental hygiene and sustainability.
He expressed the confidence that acquiring the right knowledge would help the host communities to legally challenge the alleged marginalisation of their people, especially in the employment of skilled manpower.
(Edited by Sam Oditah)
3 Katsina NYSC members die in ghastly motor accident – Official
This was contained in a statement issued by the corps Public Relations Officer, Mr Alex Obemeata, on Sunday in Katsina.
“Sunday Aug. 18, 2019, is a sad day for the NYSC in Katsina State as three Corps Members lost their lives in a ghastly motor accident on their way to a Church programme in Funtua.
“The Corps Members numbering 12, were in one bus belonging to the National Association of Catholic Corps Members, Katsina.
“Three of them died on the spot,” Obemeata said.
The PRO added that the accident occurred when the state governor Aminu Masari, was passing by at Gobirawa, Kankara LGA on Sunday.
He said that the governor stopped over and ordered a vehicle in the convoy to rush the injured to the State’s General Hospital immediately, for treatment, while the corpses had been deposited at the mortuary.
He revealed that the State NYSC Coordinator, Alh Ahidjo Yahaya, was at the hospital in company of some senior members of staff, when the ambulance carrying the injured and the deceased arrived.
Though the spokesman did not did not disclose the identities of the deceased, he said Yahaya prayed for repose of their souls and also for God to give the families the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Ikare-Akoko chiefs laud Akeredolu on road projects, seek action on abandoned Awara dam
The Ikare-Akoko Council of Chiefs, under the Owa-Ale of Ikare, Oba Kolapo Adegbite-Adedoyin, has expressed satisfaction with the performance of Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State in the last two-and-a-half years.
This was contained in a communiqué issued by three members of the council at the end of its monthly meeting held at the Palace of Owa-Ale and made available to the newsmen on Sunday in Akure.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the three members, who signed the communiqué, were the Olokoja of Okoja, High Chief Idowu Ogunye; the Olona of Okegbe, High Chief Rafiu Okunade and Onikún of Ikú, High Chief Mukaila Bello.
The council specifically expressed appreciation to the governor for the reconstruction of the hilly Oke Alabojuto, the dualisation of Ikare township road as well as the renovation of some schools in the town.
It also commended Akeredolu for appointing a former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Fatai Olotu, as Commissioner for Lands and Housing.
The council, however, appealed to the governor to urgently look into the deplorable condition of Awara dam and Okoja-Ikú-Ikare road which, it said, had become impassable.
“The council notes, with concern, the deplorable condition of Okoja-Ikú-Ikare Stadium road and pleads with the governor to extend his road construction revolution there.
“The Council of Chiefs, under the Owa-Ale, also thanks our amiable governor for keeping his electioneering promises, especially to the people of Ikare-Akoko. So far, you have not disappointed us.
“We use this medium to appeal to you on the abandoned Ikare township stadium and to resuscitate the Awara dam which used to supply potable water to most parts of Akoko land but which has been abandoned by successive administrations.
“On behalf of the people of Ikare-Akoko and the Owa-Ale, the council thanks Gov. Akeredolu for appointing Mr Olotu as commissioner,” the communiqué read in part.
It also commended the President of the 130 Crowned Obas in the state and Owa-Ale of Ikare-Akoko, Oba Kolapo Adegbite-Adedoyin, for always striving hard to ensure the development of the town and ensure peaceful coexistence among residents.
Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Gov. Emmanuel to upgrade technical college to modern skills development centre
Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom says former Technical College, Ikot Ada Idem in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, will be upgraded and converted to a modern Skills Development Centre.
Emmanuel stated this while addressing the congregation at the August Edition of Government House Prayer meeting at the Latter House Chapel, Government House, Uyo on Sunday.
He explained that the modern skills development centre would help to train people on entrepreneurial skills.
“We are trying to upgrade the Ikot Ada Idem Technical College to a skill acquisition centre which will contribute to the rehabilitation of some of our youths who have fallen prey to social vices,” he said.
Emmanuel said that as part of efforts to address the dearth of skilled manpower in the state through appropriate curriculum development, an education summit had been scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6.
He advised people to avail themselves of the training programmes offered by the state government to enable them take up careers as Pilots, Aeronautic Engineers and other professionals in the state-owned Airline, Ibom Air.
The governor explained that lack of qualified manpower among indigenes of the state in the aviation sector was the reason why Ibom Air was dominated by non- indigenes.
He emphasised that his administration was poised to train people of the state to address the imbalance.
“For a person to fly a CRJ 900, there’s a minimum number of freighting hours he must have on the Airplane.
“We need to have our people rated on the Aircraft and we will spend money and train our people so that in a short period we will also have Akwa Ibom names in the cockpit,” Emmanuel said.
He hinted that as part of the anniversary celebration by Sept. 23, the state would play host to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who would inaugurate some projects executed by the state government.
Emmanuel listed projects earmarked for inauguration to include Kings Flour Mill, Ekim Power Station , Plywood Industry and other road projects executed across the state.
Also speaking, Pastor Emmanuel Bassey of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, said that God used the founding fathers of the state to plant Christianity, and urged the residents to embrace education as the bedrock of development.
The Cleric cautioned youths against aligning themselves with agents of perdition, urging them to chart a godly pathway for themselves and generations unborn.
He commended the governor for maintaining a “Godly standard” in the leadership of the state.
Okowa condemns attack on Ekweremadu in Germany
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has condemned the attack on Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, immediate past Deputy President of the Senate at the 2nd Annual Igbo Cultural Festival held in Nuremberg, Germany, on Saturday.
The governor, whose reaction was conveyed in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Sunday in Asaba, described the incident as pathetic, shameful and an embarrassment to Nigeria.
He said that Ekweremadu, a great patriot and defender of his people and the down trodden, did not deserve the kind of ill-treatment meted to him by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) members in Germany.
“I join men of goodwill in condemning the attack on Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who has been a great patriot and leader of exemplary behaviour.
“It is pathetic and shameful that an event organised to chart the way forward for the Igbo race and Nigeria in general ended up in such a disgraceful and embarrassing manner to the country.
“As Nigerians, we are trained to respect our elders and leaders as well as people in authority.
“I am particularly happy that some of the culprits have been arrested and I urge the German authorities to take necessary action on the perpetrators of the heinous act.
“I urge all Nigerians, home and abroad, to be of good behaviour wherever they find themselves as such acts of lawlessness do not bring glory to the nation,” Okowa said.
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola
Cleric urges Christian faithful to always stand for truth
Rev. Fr. James Gorge, Assistant Parish Priest of Saint Donald Catholic church, Karu Abuja, on Sunday charged parishioners to always stand up for the truth no matter the circumstances.
Gorge made this call while delivering the sunday sermon.
“Always stand up for the truth no matter the circumstances, even if the world will turn against you like they did to Jeremiah in the book of Jeremiah chapter 38.
“God will surely raise up someone to fight for you.
“Our God is a good God. He cannot allow the just to perish.
He also called on leaders on all spheres of life to stand for the truth and have a firm deciscion on issues that border on their subjects,
“Do not allow your decision as a good leader to be shaken by the unjust,
“Use your position to speak up today for the oppressed, for that man or woman, who is unjustly deprived of his or her right,” he said.
He further charged the people to choose their friends wisely, saying, “the kind of friend you keep will determine greatly your lot for eternity.
“As a good man, if you keep good friends they will help you make heaven, but if you keep bad friends, they will surely affect you negatively.
“The word of God says “whatever will stop you from going to heaven, cut it off.
“It is better for you to enter the heavenly home land without friend than go to hell with friends,” he said.
Edited by Donald Ugwu