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Anambra flood victims worry over late arrival, shoddy distribution of relief materials

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Some victims of 2018 flood disaster recorded in Anambra have expressed their concerns over the seeming fraudulent manner officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were distributing relief materials approved for them by the Federal Government.

The aggrieved victims made their feelings known at a news conference on Tuesday in Otuocha, Anambra East Local Government Area headquarters.

They claimed that the NEMA team brought rotten yams, cocoyams and other seedlings to farmers in the area for the planting season in 2019 about a month to commencement of 2019 harvests.

Igwe Alex Edozieuno, the Traditional Ruler of Mkpu Nando Aguleri Otu, Anambra East Local Government Area, said at the briefing that NEMA were not equally transparent in the distribution of relief materials in the area.

“In 2012 when we had flood disaster in Anambra East, the Federal Government gave each of the affected communities N9 million to source seedlings and the money was equitably shared among the victims.

“This time around, the NEMA team in charge of relief materials distribution in the state came to Otuocha in the company of suspected touts who disrupted the distribution and forced the team to drive away with the relief materials.

“We are in June and by next month, we will start harvesting and this is the time they are bringing relief materials to assist farmers and some of the yams are already rotten,” he said.

He said that the Red Cross team that brought N30,000 as relief to the 2018 flood disaster victims were more organised.

Edozieuno said that the three communities of Enugu Otu, Mkpu Nando Aguleri Otu, and Ezi Agulu Otu affected by the flood, had noted that that the relief materials meant for them were kept in Otuocha kilometers away from the areas of the victims.

He regretted that the rice seedlings and yam seedlings brought to the flood victims were not the varieties planted in the area.

“We are highly unhappy with the way and manner the officials are handling the distribution of relief materials, if it is possible, let government emulate Red Cross team that brought cash to victims,” he said.

The royal father noted with regrets that NEMA officials claimed that his name was not among the enumerated farmers, when the list he showed to journalists as enumerated victims has his name as number 484 person.

Mrs Bolanle Ojo, Head of NEMA, Awka, Anambra dismissed the claims by the flood victims from Anambra East, noting that the relief materials were kept in Otuocha, the council headquarters in line with the directives of the agency’s management.

Ojo said some officials of Anambra Government were among the team that distributed the materials in Otuocha.

She said though some of the relief materials were tampered with by hoodlums, the committee handling the distribution extended the materials to only the enumerated farmers.

Mr Paul Odenigbo, Executive Secretary, State Emergency Management Agency, Anambra, said 18,000 farmers were initially enumerated as flood victims in Anambra, but the final list showed only 4,600 persons.

He said though the timing of distribution was late, farmers in the state should accept the relief materials in good faith.

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Calabar Carnival: Gov. Ayade calls for unity, peaceful co-existence

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Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has called on citizens of all countries to maintain peaceful co-existence, show unity and kindness to one another in order to promote humanity.

Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, made the call in Calabar on Sunday during the second dry run of the 2019 Calabar Carnival with the theme “Humanity”.

He said that the theme was chosen to draw the attention of the world to the need to be humane and to live in peace with one another.

The governor said that peaceful co-existence, unity and tolerance should rule the mindset of people around the world.

He urged the bands to do their best in interpreting the theme of the 2019 Carnival.

“This year’s theme is humanity; I hope that the band leaders are doing their best to give full interpretation to the theme.

“For us, the theme is about humanity and kindness to people. We should be tolerant of one other and also treat every human being as a human being irrespective of any affiliation.

“If you decide to treat people badly, you too will be treated badly. So, what we are emphasising on is the need for everyone to be treated equally.

“As we come out for every celebration of the Carnival, we will continue to play our path in ensuring that the Carnival continues to grow bigger, better and bolder,” Ayade said.

Earlier, Mr Gabe Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the theme was also designed to reach out and touch the people toward kindness and unity.

Onah said that the Bikers’ Carnival was also flagged off earlier with a view to excite tourists along the 12 km Carnival route.

He said that Carnival Calabar had become a platform to taste how cultural events were planned in Nigeria.

Calabar Carnival has become the best platform for cultural diplomacy. The first dry run witnessed the attendance of Bangladesh and Belize diplomats, offering partnership in power production; and distribution and support for our cocoa processing.

“For the next dry run, we are expecting Vietnam to come and partner with the state rice seedlings to see how they can bring farmers to promote the next level for our farming.

“The dancing and display we see in the streets is a means to an end.

“The job behind Calabar Carnival is huge and that is why we are saying that we must begin to change as we move,” he said.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Jonah-Williams, said that the assembly would make adequate budgetary provision for the Carnival Commission to enable them organise a colourful event.

Jonah-Williams said that the assembly was suggesting having “The Cross River House of Assembly Band” to add colour to the event.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the participants were colourfully dressed in various bands’ costumes, while security was mounted along the routes.

Edited by Adeleye Ajayi

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We will domesticate Freedom of Information Act in Nasarawa – Commissioner

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Mr Dogo Shammah, Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in Nasarawa State, says the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) will be domesticated in the state.

Shammah who is the immediate past Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the state, gave the assurance in Lafia on Sunday during a meeting with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the NUJ.

According to the commissioner, the era of denying journalists access to information in the state is over.

He said that as a professional journalist, he was aware of the difficulties journalists encounter in the cause of discharging their duties.

“This government will operate an open door policy and will ensure journalists get information from all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“This will ease the work of the journalists and also ensure that the activities of government is properly reported to the outside world,” he said.

Shammah said that he would seek approval of the governor to carry out sensitisation of all MDAs to ensure that they all key into the plan.

The commissioner appealed to media practitioners to get across to him when facing difficulty in accessing information from MDAs before going to the press.

“Once any journalist contacts me on any issue, I will make sure that government’s response is given to balance the report,” he said.

He promised to do everything possible to ensure a cordial relationship with journalists in the state, especially the correspondents’ Chapel.

Earlier, Isaac Ukpoju, Chairman of the chapel, congratulated the commissioner on his appointment.

He expressed gratitude to the governor for appointing the former NUJ chairman as a commissioner and posting him to the ministry.

Ukpoju said that practising journalists in the state would partner the commissioner and the government for proper reportage of their activities.

Edited by Polycarp Auta/Adeleye Ajayi

 

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“O to ge”s victory: Rep counts blessings, remembers 5 APC departed members

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One year after his victory in the Nov. 17 Ekiti/Irepodun/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency’s by-elections, Hon Raheem Olawuyi, says the victory has caused a new culture of good governance across the length and bredth of the state.

Olawuyi made the assertion in a statement commemorating the one-year anniversary of the “Oto ge”‘s struggle in Kwara and made available to the Nigeria News Agency in Omu-Aran on Sunday.

The lawmaker said he dedicated the anniversary statement to the five deceased members of All Progressive Congress (APC).

He said the victory had also heralded a trajectory of a decent society across the state.

Five APC members, Femi Olaoye, Oko ward, Segun Adewara, Omu-Aran ward, Mrs. Folake Awolowo, Arandun ward, Chief Adebanjo Adekeye, Ajase ward 2 and Isa Bakare, Odo-Owa, died in a ghastly motor accident along Omu-Aran-Oke-Onigbin road a day after the party’s victory.

According to Olawuyi, for decades, Kwarans have yearned for a genuinely independent expression of their collective political desire, unhinged by any act of totalitarianism, manipulation and mannacling.

“That day was their first experience of the accomplishment of this desire.”

“The mandate freely and overwhelmingly given to me and our party on November 17, 2018 represented a beagle signal beginning of a newly birthed Kwara that is people-owned and people-driven.

“No more shall one individual, in the name of a dynastic hegemony, holds the lives and destinies of millions of others to ransom.

“The campaign that took place in the two weeks and the eventual victory at the polls was a symbolic gesture that the people of Kwara will no longer accept the top-to-down approach in matters affecting their destinies.

“They took control, unified in a volunteering venture that is unprecedented in Nigeria’s modern political history.

“While the status-quo political establishment relied on a well state-funded, logistics-based electoral stratagem, we relied on the steam of the goodwill of our people.

“A one year cycle and circling around of this epochal event is completed today; I am, as I was exactly one year ago, humbled by the awe inspiring resolve of our esteemed people from all axis of Kwara.

“The commune that was experienced on this day one year ago set the tone of solidarity, that swept the unprogressive authoritarian political dynasty away in the main general eections that followed early in 2019.

“I dedicate this special address to the cherished memories of our compatriots, who left us in a most painful manner at the peak of the celebration.”

Olawuyi, who prayed for the repose of the deceased, also praised the dodgedness and commitment of some party leaders such Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq.

He called on party members, leaders and officials to see the victory  as a wake-up call to service by promoting a governance culture that will provide decent lives and livelihoods to all categories of the citizenry.

“As we remember the victory of November 17, 2018 and the many memorable events it heralded, we must also be conscious of the future that we must confront.

“All those that have been saddled with public trust, working in concert with our esteemed peoples must not lose focus of the sole objective of the change we clamoured for,” Olawuyi said.

ISHO/TÁ

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Medical women’s association restates commitment to fostering health maintenance for Nigerians

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The Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Lagos branch, says it is still committed to fostering health maintenance for Nigerians.

The association’s President, Dr Frances Ajose, said on Sunday in Lagos that the association would adopt new strategies toward health maintenance for resilience, noting that as usual, Medical Women were in the forefront.

She said the legacy and achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provided valuable lessons and experience that should enhance a more successful Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which replaced the MDGs in 2016.

The SDGs target everyone rich, medium and low income with all 17 SDGs interconnecting.

“This means success as one supports the success of the others.

“Health, for instance, impacts the success of the other 16 goals as better health will eradicate poverty, improve the economy, reduce inequalities, and foster peace, among other benefits.

“It stands to reason therefore, that promoting synergy of all sectors of the SDGs is a critical means of improving our health in the 21st century.

“This informed the choice of the theme of our biennial conference, `Inter-sectoral Synergy for Health’,’’ Ajose said in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency .

She said that Nigeria held the unenviable world record of the 2nd to the highest maternal mortality rate with equally abysmal infant mortality.

The association’s president said this maternal mortality was highest among first-time mothers and women with multiple pregnancies and that children of first-time mothers are also more vulnerable.

“So, where else to start the intervention but in the communities where we have the most congregation of potential first-time mothers and fathers, the schools, and the congregation of multiparous women, the markets,’’ she said.

Ajose said that consequently, during our two-year tenure, MWAN plans to equip five million adolescents in our schools with skills and tools to mitigate poor maternal and infant mortality.

“Equally depressing is the recent study that places Nigeria at the top of the Stroke prevalence scale.

“What is not being trumpeted, however, is that the wives of the Nigerian Stroke victims often die before their husbands.

“For this reason, we are targeting a million Lagos State market women for education not only on means to reduce Maternal and Infant Mortality, but also on Stroke prevention and management for their own and their husbands’ self-preservation,’’ she said.

Ajose said that the Lagos MWAN owns a property at Ebute Metta which was old and dilapidated and no longer sufficient for its activities in spite of the fact that its maintenance constantly consumes most of the association’s resources.

She said that the association was looking toward a replacement and had already secured an offer of free architectural services from one of the best architectural firms in Lagos.

She disclosed that MWAN was discussing with a giant construction company that promised it building materials and trusted their dear state Governor for allocation of the land to build a new edifice, The MWAN Lagos Well-Woman Centre.

The president said that the three major targets were concurrent with its existing mandate of control of preventing cancers in women and health promotion in children.

She therefore, appealed to all for personal reasons and for the sake of wife, sister, mother and daughter, father, husband, brother, son et al. to overstep the rhetoric and join MWAN in its pragmatic approach to remove Nigeria from the list of the world poorest health indices.

NAN reports that Ajose was recently inaugurated as MWAN president during its 21 biennial conference in Lagos for 2019 to 2021.

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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LASG commiserates with Late Chief Akinyele’s family

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Lagos State Gov., Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has commiserated with the family of the Late Chief Alexander Akinyele, describing his demise as a great loss to the nation.

Sanwo-Olu said that Akinyele’s death was a great loss particularly to the public relations practice.

A condolence message issued on Sunday on behalf of the Lagos State Government by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said Chief Akinyele’s commitment to the national service made him to excel as former minister of information and chairman of National Sports Commission.

Sanwo-Olu described Akinyele as a pacesetter who served as the first Secretary-General of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations and subsequently its president.

He said that Akinyele’s professionalism and passion for excellence gave depth to public relations practice in Nigeria.

”Gov. Sanwo-Olu sympathises with the Nigeria Customs and Excise, as well as his former colleagues at the National Reconciliation Committee, where he served as Chairman, on the loss of Chief Akinyele, a true statesman and patriot,” Omotoso said.

Sanwo-Olu prayed that God will grant the Ondo Chief, who lived for decades in Lagos, eternal rest and his family, friends and professional constituency the fortitude to bear the loss.

Former Minister of Information, Alex Akinyele, died after a brief illness at the age of 81 on Thursday night.

He studied English Language at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University).

FON/TÁ

Edited by Tajudeen Atitebi

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Catholic Diocese of Nnewi says priest likely died from inhaling toxic fume

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The Catholic Dioceses of Nnewi, Anambra, on Sunday said the late Rev. Fr. Edmund Nwagbara, might have died from inhaling toxic fume from the inverter battery in his apartment which exploded.

Nwagbara was the Parish Priest of St. Peter Clavar Catholic Church, Nnewi Ichi, Nnewi.

He died in a fire which engulfed the parish house on Saturday night and his body was burnt beyond recognition.

The Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev. Fr Hyginus Aghaulor,  gave the explanation in a statement  release by the Dioceses on the death.

He said that Rev. Fr. John Obasi, the first Assistant Parish Priest of the church, was also affected but escaped with burn injuries.

According to him, Nwagbara might have died from toxic fumes from the inverter battery in his apartment.

Aghaulor said that the priest had conducted sacrament of reconciliation for a couple he was to conduct wedding for on the morning he died.

“At about 2.30a.m., there was a big bang coming from Fr. Edmund’s (Nwagbara) room that woke some people up. But already, his apartment was in in flames.

“Fire Service were called and they managed to come in ‘our Nigerian way of approaching such issues.

“ Neighbours tried to put out the fire but it was simply like a hell.

“When eventually the Fire Service gained entrance into Fr. Edumund’s apartment, he was already burnt beyond recognition.

”It’s very likely that the fire came from the inverter in his room.  When it was heated up, the battery blew up like a bomb.

“Looking at late Fr. Edmund’s remains, he didn’t look like someone that struggled before dying.

“The toxin from the burning battery which he must have been inhaling slowly in his sleep might have killed him before the actual fire burnt him.

“One would expect someone struggling or trying to escape to die very close to the door or at a corner and not to relax on his bed,” he said.

Aghaulor expressed a deep sense of loss in the Diocese and  prayed  God to grant repose to the soul of the dead and quick recovery for the wounded.

Edited by Chidinma Agu/Chukwudi Ekezie

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