Good Governance: Okowa tasks leaders to get closer to citizens
Asaba, Nov. 21, 2019 Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta on Thursday tasked Nigerian leaders to be closer to the people to strengthen and ensure a processes of good governance.
Okowa made the call while delivering a keynote address at the 2019 edition of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Day celebration, organised by the state chapter in Asaba.
He said that leaders must be close to the people they lead and identify with them for good policies to be made.
“A godly leader, at whatever level, is empathetic with the pain and suffering of the people he is called to lead.
“There are far too many leaders in our society who are disconnected from the reality on ground and that does not augur well for people-centred policies and good governance.”
He said that Nigeria would experience great relief if “we will heed the divine injunction to repent, seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways”.
He said that CAN as an Umbrella body provided platform for fellowship and prayers for all Christian denominations.
“I have no doubt that it will serve as a catalyst for greater love and stronger unity among Christians of all persuasions.
“The first thing that struck me upon receiving the invitation to this meeting is the theme, ‘God Is Our Refuge And Fortress (Psalm 91: 2)’ which I believe we all need a fresh revelation of God as our Refuge and Fortress in the times that we live in.
“All over the world, nations are in turmoil, the seas are roaring, the earth is being shaken to its foundations, the future is very much uncertain and men’s hearts are ‘failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth’.
“But, when the Bible speaks of God as our refuge and fortress, it speaks of His awesome power to protect us from evil, deliver us from danger and fight our battles, because while He is the God of love, He is also ‘a consuming fire’ and ‘a man of war,” he said.
The governor added, “indeed, God is our present help in times of trouble and when the situation seems hopeless and you don’t have anywhere to turn.
“When you have done all that you could and the enemy seems to have you cornered, when those you trusted turn around to betray you, you must resist the temptation to get even or react in the flesh.
“Trust God to make a way where there seems to be no way for the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.”
Bishop Kingsley Enakirerhi, while delivering the sermon, said that Christians were called to solve problems.
He said that temptations and challenges would prove to visible and invisible enemies that “when you make God your refuge and fortress, you will be prosperous, protected and preserved.”
On his part, State CAN Chairman, Senior Apostle Silvester Okorote, in a welcome address said the celebration remained an annual event that every Christian in state looked forward to celebrating.
“It is a day when we gather from all churches and the five blocs across the state to celebrate the oneness of the body of Christ on which the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ is cantered,” he said.
News Agency if Nigeria reports that the event featured thanksgiving service as prayers were said for the country, the state and for leaders in authority among others.
Edited by Donald Ugwu (NAN)
World youth skills day: foundation showcases artistic talents of slum kids
In commemoration of UN World Youth Skills Day, Slum Art foundation, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) is showcase unique works of arts done by children living within the slum of Ijora/Badia in Lagos.
A statement by Adetuwanse Adenle, Co-founder of the foundation says that the online art exhibition to showcase the children’s creativity was in collaboration with two other NGOs, WEFOR GOOD organisation and One Delta Africa.
“The online exhibition is focussed to empower children living within slums through mentorship, restructuring of mindset and helping to build their creative talents.
“The aim is to showcase and auction their various paintings with magnificent storytelling to art lovers and donors looking to purchase the art pieces and support the foundation,’’ Adenle said.
He stated that, the idea of online exhibition was driven by the present reality of digital and online engagement in a COVID-19 era.
He further stated that, it was in line with the recent government policy which has maintained the closure of schools, aimed at protecting the vulnerable whilst combating the pandemic.
“The idea is to ensure that art lovers worldwide arre able to experience paintings done by the children living in the slum.
“It is imperative to drive for an online sales exhibition where funds gotten will be redirected to the educational development of children involved in the paintings, their families and their immediate community.
“It will also help to showcase their exemplary character and the benefits of diligent work,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Representative of One Delta Africa, Shade Faari, has commended efforts by Slum Art foundation team to empower children within the ijora/Badia slum with useful skillsets and taking them off the streets.
Faari stated that, the partnership with Slum Art Foundation was geared towards raising funds to provide educational tablets and solar set-up within its training facility.
“It is to ensure that the children in the slum have access to mentors and training manuals while schools remain closed,’’ she said.
She urged interested participants in the online exhibition to visit:https://slumart.org/exhibition/
News Agency of Nigeria reports that World Youth Skills Day is commemorated yearly on July 15, to highlight the opportunities and challenges that young people face in employment.
The theme for the 2020 edition is ‘Skills for a Resilient Youth .
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
EFCC: Magu failed to account for 332 recovered property worth billions
The suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),Mr Ibrahim Magu, has again been accused of allegedly failing to give proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate property in March, 2018.
A report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) made available to the News Agency of Nigeria confirmed the development, indicating that the unaccounted property was worth billions of naira.
The report also noted massive wastage and deterioration of physical assets (including landed property, cars and vessels recovered by the EFCC due to poor management.
It also noted with concern the failure to preserve and realise the economic value of the recovered assets, noting that some of the assets were recovered over 15 years ago and left fallow.
“A disturbing example is the two vessels that allegedly sunk at NNS Beecroft Naval BASE, Lagos and NNS Pathfinder Naval Base in Port Harcourt without trace under the watch of the acting Chairman of EFCC.
“The vessels named MT GOOD SUCCESS, MV PSV DERBY and MV THAMES were allowed to sink in spite of several warnings from the Navy on the need to evacuate the petroleum products in the vessels.
“The total value of the assets lost due to the negligence runs into millions of US bollars
“The (suspended) acting Chairman is yet to provide a report on what happened to these vessels,’’ the report said.
NAN reports that Magu, who is currently facing charges of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets as well as flagrant disobedience to directives and to court orders, would be expected to provide answers to the conflicting figures.
The PCARA report also noted that the few consultants hired by EFCC were not managing a substantial number of the recovered assets and that the EFCC has no capacity to manage the entire assets on its own.
The committee, therefore, alerted the nation on the economic and environmental implications of this negligent of duty by the commission.
It equally observed that EFCC made conflicting submissions or returns to it in respect of the non-cash assets which substantially affected the committee’s assignment.
The report read in part: “For instance, EFCC stated 836 as the number of Recovered Real Estate in the Original Returns it made to the President on 07/04/2017.
“However, in its 1st Returns to PCARA on 13/12/2017, EFCC short changed the system and gave the figure of 339 thereby failing to account for 497 property.
“It is interesting to note that when the Acting Chairman was further queried on this lapse, he made further contradictory 2nd return of 504 on 09/03/2018 thereby bridging the gap to 332 property.’’
The committee identified lack of internal control mechanisms/ systems within EFCC and Lack of adequate returns by EFCC Departments and Zonal Offices as reasons for these discrepancies and inconsistencies by the commission.
The suspended EFCC boss was also alleged to have neglected and refused to comply with the Regulations on the Management of Recovered Assets, 2019 as he embarked on disposing some of the property without regard to extant law.
“These Regulations was issued in line with international best practices and to ensure that all the anti-corruption agencies report all their recovered assets in a database provided by the Federal Government.
’’It is important to note that the (suspended) Acting Chairman in apparent disregard of the regulation is disposing of these properties without regard to extant laws, and Regulations and without reference to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and in effect, there is no way to have an audit of the property.
“This is also a clear sign that there is a deliberate attempt to hide the exact figures of recoveries, which is an indication of fraudulent intent.
“These actions of the (suspended) Ag. Chairman in refusing the Regulation is a clear case of refusal to follow lawful instructions and directives contrary to the provisions of the Act that establish the EFCC,’’ a separate report on the matter, addressed to the president, further noted.
According to the fresh report obtained by NAN, Magu and some top officials of EFCC were allegedly using these recovered assets to corruptly enrich themselves.
The report also listed the number of the affected properties suspected to have been illegally acquired as well as the bank accounts of those individuals serving as fronts for Magu and the affected EFCC officials.
“Most of the recovered assets are allegedly sold without anyone knowing and without proper records and without recourse to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing that has the mandate to undertake evaluation of such property.
“Some of the assets have been taken over by EFCC officials while some are sold at a giveaway prices to friends and cronies of the Acting Chairman.
“It is also on record that the (suspended) acting chairman is maintaining different accounts, including using proxies who return the benefit of the sold assets to him.
“These funds are then used to procure property and lands in the names of some of his proxies,’’
the report further stated.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
USAID trains rice farmers in Delta, RIFAN lauds Okowa, CBN for support
Chief Silver Ejezie, Delta Chairman, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) says USAID has commenced a training programme for rice farmers in the state.
Ejezie, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigerian on Monday in Asaba, said no fewer than 7,519 registered rice farmers would benefit from the training.
He said famers in Delta North and South Senatorial Districts had been trained in Asaba and Eku.
“As we speak now, farmers in Delta Central are being trained today June 15, in Warri under the “Feed the Future Agribusiness Investment Nigeria a -USAID programme on best practice on rice cultivation and processing in Delta,” he said.
He said that the training preceded the expected input supply from RIFAN headquarter in Abuja this week.
According to him, after this training by the USAID, the famers will be better prepared for the rainy season farming in the state.
“As farmers in the state, we have really enjoyed the support of Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa and we must say the Central Bank of Nigeria are also supportive of this programme.
“I have to let you know that the state chapter of RIFAN is planning to present an award to the USAID, the state governor and the CBN in recognition of their support.”
He said though one of the teething challenge facing the association had been that of tractors for land preparations.
“But we have been assured of supply of some tractors by our national body and we hope to receive from them soon,” Ejezie said.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)
Gov. Okowa mourns Gen. Obada (rtd.)
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, has condoled with the Obada family of Agbarho in Ughelli North Local Government Area of the state, over the death of Maj.-Gen. John Obada (rtd).
Okowa expressed the condolence in a statement issued by his Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifejiaka, and made available to newsmen on Sunday in Warri.
The governor expressed sadness over the demise of the retired general, saying that it was devastating.
He prayed God to grant the family, the Agbarho community and the entire Urhobo nation the fortitude to bear the great loss.
“Obada’s death is devastating especially this time that the nation is in dire need of wise counselling of retired top military personnel to solve the avalanche of security challenges currently faced by the country.
“As a people, we are extremely proud of the outstanding contributions of Obada to the Nigerian Army where he served as Aide-De-Camp to Nigeria’s first President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, from 1964 to 1966.
“He was also Commander, Training Command, Nigerian Air Force, Kaduna, 1971 to 1975; General Officer Commanding, 82 Division, Enugu, known then as 4th Infantry Division, Nigerian Army.
“Obada had an illustrious military career and served the nation with all his heart, with full dedication and commitment to duty.
“He acted as Chief of Air Staff (COAS) from 1970 to 1971 and was Federal Commissioner for Works and member, Supreme Ruling Council.
“On behalf of my family, the Government and the people of Delta, I send my deepest condolences to the Obada family, the Urhobo nation and the people of Agbarho where he hailed from,” Okowa said.
Obada retired from the Nigerian Army in 1977 and represented Delta in the Federal Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
He died on Saturday night at the age of 81 after a brief illness.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)