By Stanley Nwanosike
The state Manager of the programme, Mr Ifeanyi Onah, disclosed this to newsmen in Enugu on Wednesday.
Onah said that the programme had engaged about 1,229 cooks across the state since its commencement in February 2017.
He, however, said that the free school meals being distributed to pupils in the state had increased enrolment and improved pupils’ learning ability.
According to him, the programme has made teaching even easier for the teachers whose pupils can now pay more attention to what is being taught.
He said that the programme had created jobs and brought peace in some homes where hitherto, some women were jobless.
“On the part of farmers, who before now did not have much hope on where to sell their farm produce; they are now sure of where to supply their farm produce.
The manager advised federal government not to jettison ideals of the free school meal programme so that the objective of continued increase in primary school enrolment could be sustained.
Onah, however, lamented the lack of operational vehicles to enable officials move round while monitoring the programme in schools, urging the government to address the challenge.
The Manager also urged the government to take a critical look at the programme with a view to including other pupils – primary four, five and six – as such would remove apparent crisis and hatred which the other pupils might nurse towards the school system.
“I am appealing to Federal Government because we are told that this school meal programe is for elementary one to three. It should be extended to primary four, five and six pupils,’ he said.(NNN)
Edited by Chioma Ugboma/Tukur Muntari.
Gov. Ugwuanyi directs rehabilitation of Enugu Ezike General Hospital
Ugwuanyi gave the directive when he paid an unscheduled visit to Enugu Ezike General Hospital in Ogrute, Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area of the state, to assess the state of the hospital, built in 1958.
The governor, who was led round the hospital by the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cyril Nnadi and the Chairman of Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, Mr Ejike Itodo, expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the facilities on ground.
He, therefore, directed the ministry to commence the evaluation of the facility with a view to rehabilitating it to serve the public better.
During the inspection, the chief medical officer informed the governor that the hospital had no electricity supply since 2008 because of huge bills, among other challenges.
Ugwuanyi consequently directed the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to restore power supply to the hospital.
The governor further made funds available to the hospital’s management to enable it commence clearing of the premises and other immediate interventions.
Reacting on behalf of the management of the hospital, Nnadi thanked the governor for the provision of funds for the hospital premises to be cleared immediately and his directive to reconnect the hospital to electricity supply.
“We also appreciate the governor for his promise to carry out major upgrade of the hospital to serve the people better,’’ he said.
The governor was accompanied on the surprise visit by the state’s Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Greg Nnaji and Deputy Chief of Staff, Prof. Malachy Okwueze, among others.
Lockdown: Gov. Ugwuanyi reopens popular Ogbette main market in Enugu
The resolution to reopen the market followed a closed door meeting between officials of the state government and the leadership of the market at the Government House, Enugu on Tuesday.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting, Mr John Eze, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, Ogbette Main Market Traders Association, said that the agreement to reopen the market followed a commitment that traders would abide by certain safety protocols.
Eze said that such safety protocols included, wearing of facemasks by both buyers and sellers, and washing of hands in any shop one wished to patronise.
According to him, as a trader, you must have a bucket for washing of hands and a hand sanitiser as well as apply other precautionary measures.
COVID-19: Enugu govt. distributes palliatives to cab operators
The Enugu State government, on Monday at Okpara Square, presented food items and protective equipment to members of the Coal City Cabs/Taxi Operators’ Union in the state.
The state Deputy Governor, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, said the gesture was part of efforts to cushion the effects of the lockdown, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ezeilo said that government was committed to the wellbeing of the people of the state.
According to her, government has been consistent in the distribution of food items to various groups in the state, including the poorest of the poor, since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The deputy governor appealed to members of the union to continue to abide by the government’s restriction orders as well as the safety protocols in order to be free from the virus.
Responding, the Chairman of the cab operators, Mr Samuel Ajogwu, commended the state government for its efforts at assisting the less-privileged and groups through distribution of palliatives.
Ajogwu also commended the government for its efforts at containing the spread of the virus in the state.
“It is heartwarming that the state government has deemed it necessary to provide us with these food items as palliatives,” he said.
The chairman expressed the union’s resolve to assist the state government in containing the spread of the virus in the state.
COVID-19 : Enugu community begins cash transfers to indigent families
The Okpebe Autonomous Community in Nkanu West Local Government Area, Enugu State, has supported no fewer than 200 indigent households in the area with cash palliatives.
Mr Charles Ngene, the President General of the community, made the disclosure on Sunday at the inauguration of the first phase of the cash transfers to the beneficiaries.
The community’s president, who said that the first beneficiaries were in Ezinato and Umuoha villages, added that well-meaning sons and daughters of the community contributed the money.
Ngene said that the community discovered that the beneficiaries were not able to fend for themselves during the lockdown, even when the Local Government Chairman donated food items to some people.
A member of the planning committee, Prof. Osita Ogbu, said that they were sharing N600,000 to 200 indigent households in the first phase, adding that each beneficiary in a household would receive N3,000.
Responding, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs Ngozi Ede, said that it had been difficult for her family to eat well since the lockdown began.
“I was busy thinking of what my family will eat tomorrow, not knowing that this opportunity will come,” she said.
Other beneficiaries, including Mr Friday Nwobodo and Mrs Promise Ani, thanked the members of the autonomous community for the kind gesture.
Edited /Donald Ugwu
COVID-19: Enugu govt. decontaminates Ogbete Main Market
Addressing newsmen during the exercise on Saturday, the state’s Chief Fire Officer, Mr Okwudiri Ohaa, said that the exercise would last until Sunday.
It would be recalled that the state fire service carried out the first phase of the exercise in the market on April 1, shortly after the market was shut down by the state government to contain spread of COVID-19 in the state.
During the first phase of the decontamination of the market, the exercise was monitored by Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and heads of security agencies in the state.
Ohaa said that the state government had been consistent with the exercise to ensure that “the fight against COVID-19 is won in Enugu State”.
He maintained that the decontamination would be a continuous one, saying that “when the market reopens, it will be a weekly event’’.
He advised residents to continue to adhere strictly to all precautionary measures for containment of COVID-19.
Reacting on behalf of the traders in the market, the Chief Security Officer, Mr Justus Ezebinagu, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the initiative to decontaminate the market for the second time.
“When we were told that the governor directed the fire service to come and fumigate the market, the traders were happy because this is the second time they are coming to fumigate the market since this pandemic started.
“We thank our amiable governor for coming to our aid. We are happy.
“Even though the market is partially open for now, we believe that our governor is going to do more in our collective interest,’’ he said.
Edited By: Emmanuel.Nwoye/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Police rescue 3 kidnap victims, arrest 1 suspect in Enugu
The Police Command in Enugu State has rescued three kidnapped victims in two successful operations at separate locations within the state.
ASP Daniel Ndukwe, the Command’s Public Relations Officer, in a statement on Saturday said that the two operations were carried out on May 16 and May 26.
Ndukwe explained that the operation was after engaging the alleged kidnappers in gun duel at their criminal hideout, leading to death of one and arrest of the other with bullets injuries.
The police spokesman said that the police recovered one AK-47 rifle; 20 rounds of live ammunition; two machetes; four handsets and N700 from the suspects after the gun duel.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that two of the victims, a father and daughter, were reported kidnapped on May 15 at about 5 p.m. by armed men at a building site in Eziama Abakpa-Nike and taken to an unknown destination.
“On May 16 at about 10 p.m., a combined team of operatives attached to the command’s anti-kidnapping and anti-cult units, acting on intelligence, rescued the victims unhurt inside a forest in the said community, after gun duel with the kidnappers.
“They have since re-united with their family members,” the police spokesperson said.
He said that the third victim was reported kidnapped on May 25 at about 8:30 p.m. in exchange for her son and one other, who were being held by the alleged kidnappers.
“However, following a tactical and intelligence-led operation carried out by operatives of the anti-kidnapping unit at the said forest, the victim was successfully rescued unhurt, after an intense gun battle with the kidnappers.
“The gun battle led to death of one and the arrest of the other with severe bullets injuries and in a critical condition.
“Consequently, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Ahmad Abdurrahman, has enjoined residents to always assist the police with credible information required to effectively guard the state
Ndukwe said that the commissioner directed Area Commanders, Divisional Police Officers and Heads of Operational/Tactical Departments to be proactive in combating crime in the state.
The police spokesman said that residents have been enjoined to remain law abiding, vigilant and promptly report suspected criminals and acts of criminality to the nearest police station.
He also said that people could call the command’s emergency hotlines on: 08032003702, 08075390883, 08086671202 or 08098880172.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Ministry confirms 1 new COVID-19 case in Enugu, discharges 5
The Ministry of Health in Enugu State has announced one new confirmed COVID-19 positive case, bringing the number in the state to 19.
The State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Ikechukwu Obi, announced this in a statement on Saturday in Enugu.
Obi also said that five old cases were discharged from the state isolation and treatment centre after tested negative to the dreaded virus.
He said that the state is now left with six active cases, having discharged 13 patients.
“One more positive case has been confirmed in the state.
“Total number of cases for Enugu State is now 19, with six active cases and 13 discharged.
“The patient had returned home from Lagos State in violation of the restriction order on inter-state movement,’’ the commissioner said.
He urged the public to strictly adhere to the directives of the Federal and Enugu State governments as well as the public health advisories of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and the state ministry of health.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
ECTDA partners town planners for rapid infrastructural development in Enugu
The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) says it will partner town planners to increase speed of development of infrastructure in Enugu metropolis and its environs.
The built environment professionals comprises Nigerian Institute of Town planners (NITP), Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Nigerian Institution of Surveyor (NIS) among other.
Onoh decried the delay in approval of developers’ plan by the council chairmen, and urged council engineers and town planners to send their scheduled plan to ECTDA for approval and create effective working environment.
He said that the agency would work with all the professional bodies to ensure that anybody given an approval, actually fulfilled all the provisions of the law, adding that such would avert building collapse in the city.
“The delay in approval is human error, which could have been restored and handled immediately.
“The essence of this meeting is for ECTDA in accordance with the stipulated provision of law establishing it to have a harmonious existence with the town planners and be able to have a schedule of all submitted plans from the various local governments areas of the state.
“And also, if we have the specific numbers of these schedules; we will be able to anticipate when the approval will be given.
“We wish to do this to create effective environment where as we take the approval and move forward to check development in the various construction/building sites.
“We believe this will help increase the speedy development of infrastructure in the state.
“We work with all professional bodies to ensure that once we give you an approval, you have actually fulfilled all the provisions of the law and we will make it possible that there will be no more building collapse in the city,’’ Onoh said.
The ECTDA boss, who attributed collapse of structure to developers’ disobedient to government order, however, warned that any structure illegally built, would be demolished.
Earlier, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Enugu chapter, Mr Emmanuel Asadu, who spoke on behalf of other planning associations, commended the ECTDA chairman for his unrelenting effort to return Enugu city to its original glory and avert building collapses.
Asadu said that the professionals’ were committed to work with the plans of ECTDA to make Enugu state enviable and a comfort city for developers.
“The building/environment planning professional will key into it because all we are looking for is to get the approval of plans done within two weeks to make our developer comfortable with everything.
“The challenge of delay in approving plan is not the problem of town planners because we have so many masters that we are serving.
“Master A will tell you to do this; while Master B will tell you do not do this, at the end of the day, even when you receive a plan, work on it quickly and send for approval, it will get stocked there,’’ he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
Enugu farmers beg govt. to provide fertiliser at subsidised rate
Some farmers in Enugu have appealed to the state government to provide them with fertilisers at subsidised rates.
Some of the farmers, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Enugu, decried the delay in the fertiliser’s distribution to farmers in the state.
The farmers said that they were yet to get fertiliser from the state government.
They added that if government could sell fertilisers to farmers at subsidized rates, it would go a long way to boost food production as there would be food surplus from next harvesting season.
A yam farmer, Mr Felix Azubike said that fertiliser subsidies had been one of the major policy instruments used to increase agricultural productivity.
According to Azubike, in order to create healthy crops full of nutrients, farmers need to be given fertiliser at subsidised rate.
Another farmer, Mr James Duru urged the state government to help farmers to get the necessary inputs they required to motivate them and increase food in the state.
“Obtaining fertiliser for our crops at the moment is difficult for some farmers, especially the farmers in rural areas as its price is not affordable by some of them,” he said.
Mrs Maria Nwankwo, a cassava farmer said that farmers had to turn to fertiliser because it enhanced the natural fertility of the soil and it replaced the chemical elements taken from the soil by previous crops.
“As farmers, we are in dare need of fertiliser for our crops to be healthy, so we are calling on the state government to begin the distribution of fertiliser because some of us can not buy from the open market due its high price,” Nwakwo said.
She said that a bag of NKP fertiliser was now being sold between N8,000 and N11,000, adding the increase had made the commodity to be out of her reach.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Grace Yussuf (NAN)
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