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Agriculture

Akwa Ibom Govt. donates 10 tractors, inputs to farmers

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Akwa Ibom Government has provided 10 tractors and incentives to farmers in the last six months to boost farming in the state.

Dr Glory Edet, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, told newsmen in Uyo on Friday that the state had empowered a lot of farmers with soft interest-free loans of N100, 000 each to cultivate farms.

“The state governor has bought 10 tractors for farmers in the state in order to promote Fadama programmes which would round up in June this year.

“When we look at our farmers, there are some that may be willing to cultivate larger portions of land but cannot do so because of financial constraints, so what government has done is to assist farmers so that next year, we will have more food.

“We assist farmers with interest free loan and about six months ago, we started with vegetable farmers in the state,” she explained.

She said the money was paid directly to the account of the farmers who before then had to fill application forms.

She explained that the tractor operators had been sent to the three Senatorial Districts of Eket, Uyo and Ikot Ekpene to clear, plough and prepare the land  for planting.

She added that the state government had also given inputs such as seedlings, cassava cottons, agro chemicals, among others to farmers in the state.

According to her, government gave the farmers money, while the Ministry of Agriculture conducted sensitization and training for the farmers.

“We also have extension workers and train-the-trainers to assist support farmers on anything they want to cultivate. We encourage existing farmers and prospective farmers to join the scheme.

“If you are cultivating one hectare, of course you can not collect the same amount of money with the person cultivating five or six hectares. We have done that in order to assist farmers to grow,” she said.

She noted that the state government was promoting coconut cultivation in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area, saying that Akwa Ibom was leading in coconut cultivation in Nigeria.

“We have cultivated about 2,000 hectares of coconut in Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas in the state.

“The coconut cultivation is really improving and we are preparing to extend it to Okobo Local Government Area of the state,” she said.

He said the areas the state government was promoting coconut cultivation were Mkpat Enin, Eastern Obolo and Ikot Abasi local government areas of the state.

She explained that the state government had been promoting agriculture in secondary schools, saying the Ministry of Agriculture had sensitised principals to plant coconut in public schools in the state.

SDB /

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

Health

Akwa Ibom discharges 2 COVID-19 patients

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The Akwa Ibom Government says it has discharged two coronavirus (COVID-19) patients from the Ibom Specialist Hospital isolation centre, Uyo.

The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong disclosed this while briefing newsmen on Sunday in Uyo.

Ukpong said the two discharged patients had met the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocol standard of two negative tests before being discharged.

He said that the two discharged patients bring to 16, the total number of those treated and discharged of the viral infection since the first set of cases were recorded on April 1, 2020.

Gov. Udom Emmanuel has expended so much in healthcare delivery and in emergency operations, and that accounts for the 100 per cent recovery rate currently being experienced in the state.

“The magnificent 300-bed facility that the governor put up at Ituk Mbang is going to complement the services provided in the earlier facilities provided at Ikot Ekpene and Ibom Specialist Hospital,” Ukpong said.

According to him, the activities of persons, who sneaked into the state under the guise of bringing livestock and other food items, might to be accounted for the high figures recorded in the past few days.

Ukpong said the increased number of cases in the state had also increased the contacts currently being traced.

He commended the health management officials for being responsive and dedicated to their duties.

The commissioner revealed that there had been cases of people arriving the COVID -19 emergency center with other symptoms because of the free treatment offered by the state government.

“People with ulcer, diabetes and other medical conditions other than COVID-19 do approach the center and when we examine them and find out that it is not coronavirus, they start pleading that we should take them in because of the attention we give our patients.

“Some even ask for palliative, but people must know that those emergency lines are strictly for COVID-19 emergencies,” he said.

Ukpong noted that the state had so far recorded two COVID-19 deaths, from a total of 45 confirmed cases by the NCDC.

He advised the residents to adhere to the NCDC protocol of personal hygiene, regular washing of hands with soap under running water, use of alcohol based hand sanitiser and social distancing to stay safe.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran (NAN)

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General news

FEC approves N118m augmentation for Ose-Akwa Bridge in Anambra

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC), has approved and augmented by the sum of N118 million, the completion of the Ose-Akwa Bridge in Anambra.
Information Minister Lai Mohammed briefed State House correspondents on behalf the Minister of Works after the virtual FEC meeting anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said that the augmentation amounted to a revised sum of N1.14 billion for the bridge.
“The Minister of Works presented a memorandum for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Ose-Akwa Bridge in Anambra State.
“This contract was awarded to Messrs Horizon Construction Company Limited in the sum of N896.9 million.
“It is actually for the construction of a 90-metre long bridge with two-kilometre approach and the completion period is 12 months.
“It is important to note that this contract has already attained 87.9 per cent completion but was stalled in 2012 after 90-metre Bridge had been constructed.’’
Mohammed said that there was a huge flooding which made it impossible for the two-kilometre approach road to be constructed.
He said that the contractor approached the ministry to undertake the repair of the damage caused to the project and also to construct the road.
“The lapse in time and period has made the contract rate to be reviewed.
“So, accordingly Messrs Horizon Construction submitted augmentation for a repair job in the sum of N160 million which was more than 15 per cent; so it had to go through due process.
“Having sought and obtained presidential approval, the contract was finally approved and augmented by the sum of N118 million, thereby reversing the total contract to N1.14 billion.’’
More so, Mohammed said, the Minister of Finance presented a memo to council for the purchase of equipment for the Nigeria Customs Service.
He listed the equipment as 1,200 units of colour printers and desktop computers for human resources management system and accounting management systems across zones and area commands of the Nigeria Customs Service.
According to the minister, the sum of the contract is N623.7 million.
Mohammed also briefed State House correspondents on behalf of the Minister of Aviation.
He said the Aviation contract was approval for the revised estimated cost for the construction of Boeing 737 Full Flight Simulator Building for the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria.
“The memo was actually for the review of the contract; the contract had already been awarded to Stabilini before for the sum of N983.4 million but it is being reviewed for the following reasons.
“There is a need to upgrade the electrical system to cover procurement of 2-number 500kVA power supply as against the 250KVA in the original contract and the need for the upgrading of power supply is because the two simulators will need 300KVA power as opposed to 250KVA.
“Also, to upgrade the power supply of the simulator building for the two simulators and also because the power supply for the building simulators are to be sourced now from a farther distance than what was anticipated.
“Before they thought that they could source the power with 60 metres to the building but now they have to move to about 80 metres to source the power and this was why the contract had to go up and the BPP approved N118 million increase in the project,’’ he said.

Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Akwa Ibom begins boundary surveillance

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The Akwa Ibom government has begun a 24-hour boundary surveillance to checkmate unauthorised interstate movements, as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, made this known during a meeting of the state COVID-19 Incident Management Committee (IMC) on Sunday in Uyo.
Ukpong warned the people of the state against embarking on interstate travels in order to avoid unpleasant consequences.
He said that a lot of people had been stranded at Akwa Ibom boundaries with other states.
The commissioner added that the state government had intercepted a corpse being brought into the state from Cross River. alongside about 60 persons, saying that they were all denied entry.
He explained that the 3G cameras installed at the boundaries were on 24-hour surveillance, maintaining that only authorised persons, such as those bringing in foodstuffs and pharmaceutical products, excluding livestock, were being allowed entry into the state.
He called on security personnel at the entry points to dissuade truck drivers from parking their vehicles in front of the surveillance cameras to avoid blocking their views.
“We discouraged members of the public from using bush paths and endangering their lives in the process of making interstate travels,” Ukpong said.
He reiterated that the ban on burials in the state was still in force.
Meanwhile, the commissioner has tasked members of IMC on accuracy in data collation and presentation, saying that a lot depended on their reports.
Ukpong acknowledged the competence of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in testing of samples but noted that there could be errors, both in the procedure and collation of data.
He commended NCDC for offering public apologies to Akwa Ibom and Plateau states and enjoined those in charge of COVID-19 in the state to discharge patients with other ailments who had tested negative to the virus.
According to him, the isolation centre was specifically for the handling of COVID-19-related cases, adding that government will not foot the bills of other ailments.
Ukpong commended members of IMC and health workers for their professionalism and huge sacrifices in halting the spread of coronavirus in the state.
SDB /

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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General news

Akwa Ibom Govt to inaugurates COVID-19 Emergency Task Force in 31 LGAs

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Akwa Ibom Government has concluded arrangements to inaugurate COVID-19 Emergency Response Task Force in all the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, said during a meeting with the Akwa Ibom COVID-19 Incident Management Committee (IMC) held at Ibom Specialist Hospital, Uyo on Thursday.

Ukpong said that the COVID-19 Emergency Response Task Force would be inaugurated in the 31 Local Government Areas in the state.

The Commissioner said setting up of emergency response task force was one of the measures to monitor and promptly report suspected cases of the novel coronavirus pandemic to curb the spread

He said the directives had been given to all Council Chairmen to set up an Emergency Response Taskforce before the state recorded its first index case.

He expressed concerns over non compliance by some local government areas.

The Health Commissioner said, “the State Government is not relenting in its effort in combating the spread of the virus, adding that rapid response to suspected cases of COVID-19 was vital to controlling the pandemic.

Ukpong, who is also the chairman, state Incident Management Committee (IMC), urged the 31 local government areas, yet to set up the emergency task force to do so immediately.

Ukpong noted that the Emergency Response Task force in all the local government areas would work with the State IMC on COVID-19 to ensure a collaborative response.

SDB /

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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General news

Head of Service distributes face masks to workers in Akwa Ibom

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The Akwa Ibom Head of Service (HoS), Effiong Essien, has distributed face masks to workers as part of measures to ensure their safety at their workplaces after the lockdown.

Essien who donated the face masks to civil servants at the Secretariat in Uyo on Tuesday, said that offices had also been disinfected.

He said: “We disinfected the offices to keep workers safe and make the offices conducive for them after the lockdown in the state.

“Gov. Udom Emmanuel places premium on the safety and well-being of workers and, therefore, has graciously approved the provision of face masks to be given to them as well as the disinfection of their offices.”

He noted that the disinfection exercise was carried out in all the offices both at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat Complex and the Dakkada Secretariat Annex along Udo Udoma Avenue.

Essien welcomed the workers to a conducive working environment and promised to ensure safety of workers in the state.

He urged workers to adhere strictly to all precautionary and preventive measures against COVID-19 pandemic to stay safe and alive to carry out their assigned duties.

He enjoined workers to imbibe the new social order occasioned by the ravaging coronavirus throughout the official hours, shun hand shaking and embracing.

Essien expressed appreciation to Gov. Emmanuel who he described as the “workers-friendliest governor’’ for all the kind gestures toward workers in state.

He pledged the cooperation and support of workers toward the success of the second term completion agenda of the governor and in the fight against the dreaded COVID 19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the governor had made face masks compulsory in public places from May 4.
SDB /

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Metro

Lockdown: Netherlands-based group donates foodstuff to Akwa Ibom community

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No fewer than 200 households in Ikot Mbonde Itam, Itu Local Government Area of  Akwa Ibom, are to benefit from food items donated by a Netherlands-based group of Nigerians.

Presenting the items on Friday on behalf of the group, Akwa Ibom Cross River States Association, Netherlands,  Mr Mfon Effiong, said the initiative was to help mitigate the effects of the lockdown on the people.

Effiong said the donation was borne out of the sincere love the members of the group have for the people during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.

He said beneficiaries would include those that have no source of livelihood, elderly and other vulnerable persons.

” Even those that have source of livelihood but have businesses that had been affected by the lockdown because of coronavirus will also benefit.

“The items will reach the  families. Since we know the quantity, we have to randomly select people so that it will go round,” Effiong said.

The Village Head of Ikot Mbonde Itam, Eteidung Godfrey Akpan, thanked the group for its kind gesture.

He urged other Nigerians to emulate members of the group by supporting their community to alleviate the harsh economic effects of the lockdown.

” We are very grateful to Almighty God in the first place, and  we thank our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora for giving us these palliatives.

” It is a relief in this trying period and we are very grateful.

“To those our brothers who have the heart to send these items to us at this time, we say may God bless them,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Miss Idongesit Sunday, said the donation came at an auspicious time, adding that many had been out of job for about one month.

“I thank God for being one of the beneficiaries. I thank those my brothers and sisters that sent these items to us. In fact for one month now, we have not gone out to do anything to earn a living.

” These gesture from our brothers and sisters in Netherlands will not be forgotten,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that items donated included rice, beans and garri(cassava flakes).

(
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

 

 

 

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General news

COVID-19: Sen. Akwashiki distributes palliatives worth N40m to constituents

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Sen. Godiya Akwashiki (APC, Nasaeawa-North), has distributed palliatives worth N40 million to his constituents to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown.

The items were distributed to people from Akwanga, Nassarawa-Eggon and Wamba Local Government Areas, the three councils that made up the senatorial district.

Speaking during the distribution on Thursday in Nassarawa-Eggon Local Government, Akwashiki said that the gesture was aimed at cushioning what the people are currently going through.

He called on the people of his constituency to use the month of Ramadan to pray for God’s intervention on the present challenges bedevilling the entire globe.

Akwashiki, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, advised the public to abide by the rules and regulations of the lockdown order.

He said citizens should give the state government and the state COVID-19 Task Force, as well as security agencies all the necessary support to make the task a success.

Items distributed include, 2,400 bags of rice, 1,200 cartons of indomie, 150 bags of millet, 150 bags of beans, 50 bags of sugar and an undisclosed cash. .

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

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Defence/Security

COVID-19: Gov Emmanuel pardons 68 inmates in Akwa Ibom

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Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has granted amnesty to 68 inmates of the Nigerian Correctional Service in the state.

A statement by the Service’s Public Relations Officer, Mr Ogbajie Ogbajie, indicated that 22 inmates were pardoned from Uyo Custodial Centre, 17 each from Ikot Ekpene and Eket centres, while 12 were freed from the Ikot Abasi centre.

“The governor’s action was necessitated by the need to decongest the Correctional Service centres in keeping with the social distancing protocol aimed at curbing the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” he said.

He said that the governor’s action followed recommendation from the state’s command of the Nigerian Correctional Service

The statement quoted Emmanuel as admonishing the freed inmates to be of good conduct and stay away from crime.

It also quoted Mr Alex Oditah, the Controller of Correctional Services in the state, as apreciating the Governor for his magnanimity and urging him to make amnesty a continuous exercise.

Edited By: Angela Okisor and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Police arrest 17 suspected cultists in Akwa Ibom

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The Police Command in Akwa Ibom says it has arrested 17 suspected cultists of the Debam and Iceland cult groups at Mbiaso and Ikot Etim communities in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of the state .

CSP Nnudam Frederick, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state made the disclosure in a statement on Wednesday.

“So far, 17 suspected cultists have been apprehended and more suspects will be arrested in the coming days as investigation and the operations continue.”

He said that normalcy had been restored to the affected communities in Akwa Ibom.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the police confirmed death of three suspected cultists on Monday, April 27th , as a result of cult clashes between Debam and Iceland groups.

“The clash culminated to the death of one Ofonime Uduak ‘m’ and Iniobong Kufre Silas ‘m’ while the whereabouts of one Ikpongiforo Etim ‘m’ and Etang Alex Effiong ‘m’ are yet unknown,” Fredrick said.

Frederick quoted the Commissioner of Police, CP Imohimi Edgal as saying that the special operation was yielding results in the area.

He said the teams involved in the operation were drawn from the Etim Ekpo Area Command, Oruk Anam Division, Anti-Cultism, Anti-Kidnapping Squad and Operation Thunder.

Edgal explained that to ensure total decimation of the cult groups, he had secured partnership and cooperation of the Paramount Ruler of Oruk Anam, HRM J.J. Obosi and other stakeholders during a security meeting.

He said the Paramount Ruler had given a Royal Proclamation directing his people to give useful information to the Police.

The Commissioner of Police reiterated that the special operation would continue in the area until all cultists and their sponsors were arrested and prosecuted.

He advised the people to go about their normal businesses while assuring them of enhanced security at all times.

SDB /

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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