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Kogi, Bayelsa poll: INEC urges parties to submit polling agents list by Nov. 2

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties participating in Kogi and Bayelsa Nov. 16 governorship election to submit lists of their polling agents on or before Nov. 2.


INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmmod Yakubu gave the advice on Wednesday during the commission stakeholders meeting in Yenegoa, Bayelsa, ahead of the state governorship election.


Yakubu said that the law required political parties to submit list of polling agents two weeks before election at INEC Local Government offices.


“We have received complaints in previous election where parties said security agents turned away their agents from the polling units and collation centres.


“This is simply because you did not submit their list and we did not accredit them.’’


Yakubu, who said that the deadline remain Nov. 2, advised party agents not come to polling units with identity cards or tags of their party but the one issued by INEC.


He reiterated the commission’s commitment to remain neutral and protect its integrity by conducting credible election in the state.


Yakubu also re-emphasised that INEC would not condole any form of attacks of its personnel deployed for the election.


“We want to remind candidates and their supporters that attacks on officials of the commission will this time attract severe sanctions.


“It has happened before where we refused candidates who attacked our staff their Certificates of Return.


“In one of such cases, the court ordered that we give the candidate his certificate and as a respecter of court order, we did. But we are determined to follow the matter to the Supreme Court to ensure that the matter is decided once and for all.”


In her remarks, Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, INEC National Commissioner Supervising Bayelsa, Edo and Rivers, said the commission needed the cooperation of all stakeholders, especially political parties to conduct credible election in the state.


“I must say that making the election successful, incredible and violence free is a joint venture between INEC all categories of stakeholders here present.’’


Agbamuche-Mbu said that the commission was ready to discharge its duty without fear or favour and was not ready to collaborate with any party to undermine the electoral process.


She disclosed the level of INEC preparedness for the election was at its climax.


“Logistical arrangements had been put in place to prevent any last-minute rush. The challenge of marine and road transportation has been resolved,” she said.


She disclosed that in line with Electoral Guideline, INEC on Oct. 14 issued to political parties, an electronic copy of the register voters with details of the 923,182 registered voters.


Agbamuche-Mbu reminded political parties that election was not about preparation on the eve of the poll, “but a process’’, while advising them to run issue based campaign and shun fake news.


She also urged security agencies and the media to protect the integrity of the electoral process while discharging their duties.


Mr Ide Oduasekpar, the state Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), urged stakeholders to use the opportunity offered by the meeting to ensure credible election devoid of violence and vote buying.


Oduasekpar said that peaceful election was the key to development as it enhance good governance and promote social political and the economic development of any state.


“I want to stress the fact that we need not engage in vote buying. We need not carry our bags of money around inducing voters, thereby causing violence.


“Violence will never bring any good to the state, it will rather cause destruction of lives and property.’’


Oduasekpar pledged that the agency would engage the public in knowing its roles during the election and the need to be peaceful.


The Nigeria News Agency reports that the meeting was attended by stakeholders including representatives of political parties, their candidates, traditional rulers and security agencies.(NAN)


OBE/ABI


Edited by Ali Baba-Inuwa

Defence/Security

I-G deploys detectives to unravel bank, police station attack in Kogi

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The Inspector General of Police (I-G), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has deployed crack detectives to unravel the perpetrators of attack on a commercial bank and police station in Kogi.

The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), DCP Frank Mba, disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the detectives are from the Intelligence Response Team, the Special Tactical Squad and Federal-SARS.

Adamu condemned the Thursday attack on Isanlu police station and a commercial bank in Yagba East Local Government Area of Kogi.

He directed the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone-8 Headquarters, Lokoja, Mr Yunana Babas, to immediately review the security arrangement in Kogi and environ.

He said that the AIG would oversee the investigations, coordinate intelligence as well as investigate the circumstances surrounding the attack.

Adamu condoled families of the police officers and other persons who lost their lives in the course of duty during the encounter with the hoodlums.

He urged Isanlu Community and people of Kogi to remain calm and avail the police with credible information that would help in the arrest of the criminals.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Defence/Security

8 Policemen, one civilian feared killed in Kogi bank robbery

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Nine persons, including eight Policemen and one civilian, were feared killed on Thursday in Isanlu, Kogi State, when a gang of armed robbers launched an attack on a branch of First Bank in the town.

The News Agency of Nigeria gathered that among those killed were the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in the town, five other Policemen and two Police women.

NAN sources indicated that while the DPO, the two Police women and four Policemen were killed at the Police Station, one Policeman was killed at the bank’s premises.

The other victim, a male civilian, died when a stray bullet hit him.

The armed robbers were said to have invaded the Police Station at about 1 p.m. and opened fire on all officers and men on duty.

The source told NAN that the Police Station was completely destroyed by the armed robbers who also set free all detainees in the detention facility.

The robbers later proceeded to the area’s First Bank Plc branch where they killed one of the Policemen on duty and carted away money.

An eyewitness, Mr Segun Thomas, told NAN that the robbery operation lasted almost one hour.

“The robbers came in two vehicles – a bus and a car – with which they also escaped from the town.

NAN learnt that the car, believed to have been snatched from its owner, was later abandoned around Kizito College, Isanlu.

Mr William Aya, spokesman of the Police Command in Kogi, confirmed the robbery incident and the invasion of the Police Station, but added that the casualty figure was “still hazy”.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr Ede Ayuba, has dispatched the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operation, to Isanlu to ascertain the true situation,” he told NAN.

Aya promised to brief the press “as soon as details are available”.

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Defence/Security

Police kill two kidnappers in Kogi

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The Police Command in Kogi has confirmed the killing of two kidnap suspects during a gun duel with some of its operatives .

The command’s spokesman , DSP William Aya, who made the confirmation in a statement in Lokoja on Wednesday said the suspects were killed in Idah.

Aya said that the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of Idah, CSP Ibrahim Jauro, had on June 2 received distress calls that a gang of armed robbers/kidnappers was blocking the Bishop Road junction, a major spot in Idah town.

He said that members of the gang also believed to be cultists were engaged by a team of policemen promptly dispatched to the scene by the DPO.

He said in the course of the gun duel, the suspects succumbed to the superior fire power of the police by fleeing the spot with bullet wounds.

According to the statement , the policemen complemented by naval and civil defence personnel pursued the robbers and in the process, two bodies were recovered .

Aya said those killed included one Onucha Opia, a notorious kidnapper in Idah and its environs  and one Danlami Shuaib.

“The duo of Onucha and Shuaibu were found dead along Ona road and Old Union Bank junction in Idah,respectively.

” Meanwhile , their corpses have been taken to General Hospital morgue while efforts are on top gear to arrest Aminu Opia and other members of the gang,” he said.

He said that one locally made gun with four expended cartridges were recovered from the scene.


Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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Politics

Tackle COVID-19 in Kogi: Rep tells governor

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A member of the House of Representatives, Mr Tajudeen Yusuf, (PDP-Kogi) has urged Gov. Yaya Bello to take responsibility and tackle COVID-19 head on in Kogi. 

In a statement issued on Sunday Yusuf stressed the need to stop the back and forth ruse between the governor and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Yusuf who represents Ujumu/Bunu/Kabba Federal Constituency of Kogi,  said that the “shenanigans as playing the ostrich cannot save Kogi from the pandemic”.

It would  be recalled that the NCDC  on Saturday, May 30, 2020, confirmed that Kogi had two COVID-19 positive cases.

The state government has, however, distanced itself from the report, accusing the NDDC of forcing confirmed COVID-19 cases on the state.

Yusuf said that it was necessary to accept the result so that the NCDC and other relevant bodies could swiftly commence efforts to help nip the problem in the bud.

The Rep also stated that the government of Kogi had yet to give any palliative to citizens since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Kogi must now rise up against COVID-19 and immediately cease to play the proverbial ostrich that buries its head in the sand at the approach of danger.

“Whatever palliative the people have received either came from National Assembly members, State Assembly, community development association or private individuals.

“Even the food items sent from the Federal Government has not been shared, no single test centre.

“I am sure many would  have died of COVID-19 without knowing and many would have  been healed without knowing,” he said.

The lawmaker called on all parties to rise beyond the divides of politics, faith and ethnicity for an effective war against the pandemic.

According to him, this is so that all men, women and children of Kogi  can live long and attain their productive lives without undue mourning.

He commended the family of the Chief Imam of Kabba, Sheikh Ahmad Ejibunu, for the timely alert.

Yusuf said the family’s consideration for others made  them to stand out as true sons and daughters of Kabba.

The Rep said that the virus had ravaged all parts of the world, with more than 100,000 persons said to have lost their lives in the U.S. which had some of the world’s best medical systems.

According to him, in Kogi where the number of available hospital beds and other resources are limited, our best chance is to prevent a spread.

He called for proper and timely sensitisation to observing social distancing, hand-washing, testing and other suggestions from the NCDC.

Yusuf said  being positive is not a death sentence saying that out of 9,302 confirmed cases in the country 2,697 cases had been discharged.

He said that 261 deaths had  been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

 

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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General news

Kogi primary healthcare launches website to boost service delivery

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The Kogi State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (KGSPHCDA) said it had established a Website that would provide quality and effective healthcare delivery for citizens at the grassroots.

Dr Abubakar Yakubu, the Executive Director, KGSPHCDA, who disclosed this in a statement in Lokoja, named the website as ”www.ksphcda.org”.

According to Yakubu, the creation of a website is part of deliberate effort of KGSPHCDA to deepen synergy between the agency, community and  development partners within and outside the state.

”Our intension is to make the website current, relevant and interactive so that local, national and international partners can be abreast of our activities.

”This will help our partners to make informed contributions to the consolidation and expansion of the modest achievement recorded in the last two and a half years and beyond,” Yakubu said.

He noted that the agency had intensified Routine Immunisation (IR) campaign through the Inauguration of State Emergency Routine Immunization Coordination Centre (SERICC) in the State and LERICC at the LGA Level.

He added that KGSPHCDA held its maiden news conference in 2018 where the agency unveiled plans to the world.

”This interactive session has gone a long way to cement the cordial relationship between the agency and the press thereby, helping to create public awareness about the activities of PHCDA in the state.

”Others are successful conduct of Baseline Survey of Primary Health Care facilities, which enables the agency and Ministry of Health to have accurate data for policy formulation and implementation in the state.

”There is support for 300 health care facilities to conduct outreach, fixed and mobile sessions to strengthen immunisation services in the state.

”Also, acquisition and furnishing of befitting new office complex for the agency,  which has created conducive working atmosphere for staff and development partners,” he said.

Yakubu added that the agency had also expanded the state’s cold store and installation of 100KVA solar energy project ready for commissioning at the cost of N67 million.

”In addition, signing of the agency’s Amendment Bill into Law by the executive governor whose significance is the aspect that incorporates PHCUOR in our edict.

”The commencement of and operationalisation of the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) in Kogi with the approval of N100 million counter-part fund and effective pre- implementation plans for BHCPF in the state,” he stated.

The agency executive director expressed  gratitude to Gov. Yahaya Bello and his Deputy, Mr Edward Onoja, for their unflinching support.

”We consider the governor as the father of Primary Healthcare in the state because he has the singular honour of reviving the agency from its comatose state prior to my appointment in October 2017,” he said.

Yakubu commended the development partners who had been standing behind them, noting that the agency’s achievement would not have been possible without them.

He also praised the press for being instrumental to the agency’s activities through news coverage.

He commended the management and staff of the agency for their dedication and commitment to the goals.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/ Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Agriculture

Women farmers solicit review of Kogi 2020 budget to accommodate credit, inputs

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Small Scale Women Farmers Organisation in Nigeria (SWOFON), has urged the Kogi Government to review its 2020 budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector, to accommodate credit and loan facilities to farmers.

Hajia Safiya Yahaya, Coordinator of  SWOFON in Kogi made the call at a news conference organised in collaboration with the Public Financing of Agriculture (PFA) Committee on Friday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PFA is a programme of Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID) and supported by ActionAid Nigeria, to address issues of budgetary allocations in the agriculture sector.

Yahaya said that the appeal had become necessary to avert the looming food crisis arising from the effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hindering farming activities.

The Coordinator said the organisation had observed that there was no provision for Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme in the state, adding that the situation was critical, as farmers could barely access Federal assistance and credit as a result of the pandemic.

“We noticed the downward review of funding of inputs to farmers in the state and we are pleading with the government to reconsider, so as to assist more farmers in this  farming season.

“We are also appealing to the government to make provisions for credit and loan schemes to assist farmers during this farming season, if we must avert the looming food crisis,” she said.

Also, Mrs Inkpi Ali, Programme Officer with PIBCID, said Nigeria was a signatory to the Maputo Declaration of 2003, with a commitment to provide at least 10 per cent of its annual budget to agriculture.

Ali, however, regretted that since the declaration by the 13 African countries, Nigeria and its state components, had not met the 10 per cent commitment, with Kogi committing only 4.6 per cent to the Agriculture sector in its 2020 budget.

“If agriculture is to serve as a means of diversifying the economy of Kogi State as promised in the ‘New Direction’ blueprint of the state government, then allocations to the sector which has been grossly inadequate should be improved upon,” she stated.

Mrs Esther Audu, Assistant Public Relations Officer of SWOFON in the state, noted the devastating impact of COVID-19 on all spheres of human endeavour including food reserves.

“If this is not properly addressed the hunger virus that is coming will be more than the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” she warned.

She, therefore, called for a re-direction of the N80 million allocation in the state’s 2020 budget for the training of Extension Officers at the Agric Training Centre, Ochaja, to procurement of inputs, including seeds and land clearing, for accelerated food production.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Isaac Ukpoju (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: CACOVID donates equipment to Kogi isolation centre

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The Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on Friday donated health equipment worth millions of naira to a new isolation centre created in Lokoja by the Kogi State government.

The presentation of the equipment by a representative of the CACOVID, Mr Toyin Idowu, coincided with the inauguration of the isolation centre by the state government.

Idowu said that the donation of the equipment was a joint initiative between the Central Bank of Nigeria and the leadership of private sector companies in the country.

He said that the gesture was aimed at joining hands with the federal and state governments to rid the country of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to him, the fight against the novel coronavirus cannot be left for government alone to handle because of its peculiar nature.

“Our resolve to wade into the crisis is to avoid untimely death of innocent Nigerians as a result of the pandemic,” he said.

Idowu said that the measure was also to prepare the state ahead of any eventuality, as it would help in tackling the disease.

“The equipment we have provided, such as Analysers, X-ray machine, oxygen cylinders, beds, mattresses, weight measuring machine, among others, are world class equipment that will go a long way in reducing the effects and spread of COVID-19 in the country,” he said.

Inaugurating  the isolation centre, the state Deputy Governor, Chief Edward Onoja, promised that the government would continue to ensure that the state remains COVID-19 free.

“We will continue to sensitise our people on the need to maintain personal hygiene and adhere to advice given by health experts and the National Centre for Disease Control,” he said.

Onoja commended CACOVID for partnering with the federal and state governments in the fight against COVID-19.

He promised that the equipment would be carefully handled and utilised for their intended purpose.

In his speech, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Saka Haruna, appreciated CACOVID for the kind gesture, which he described as timely.

He said that the equipment which were meant for the treatment and management of COVID-19 patients would also be useful in treating other ailments.

“This gesture is in tandem with the drive of Kogi State Government.

” We have two isolation centres already and the commissioning of this one makes it the third isolation centre we have in the state, even though , we are yet to record any case of COVID-19,” Haruna said.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: FG to dispatch experts to re-engage Kogi Govt

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The Federal Government on Thursday announced that a ministerial team of experts would soon be dispatched to Kogi on a mission to engage authorities of the state, to determine material and technical needs of the state on COVID-19.

The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, made the announcement in Abuja at a news conference by the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Kogi Government had alleged refusal of NCDC officials to observe protocols in line with the containment of the coronavirus when they visited the state.

The allegation stirred up drama between the two parties as the NCDC officials left Kogi without adhering to terms and conditions, rolled out by Gov. Yahaya Bello.

Following the development, Ehanire said the committee would need to re-engage the governor and work with him and his team to create conditions with which the NCDC officials could complete their job.

The minister said that the ministry had developed key performance indicators to track surveillance, strategic activities and programmes.

He said that the ministry would also be working with states to establish protocols that would improve on communication and reporting.

Ehanire noted that the fact-finding team that was sent to Cross River had returned and that the ministry had been able to identify areas of need in the state.

He said that the state’s level of preparedness was reasonable.

“They have set up a committee on COVID-19 and have also started making face masks and Personal Protective Equipment.”

He, however, said that a new medical team had been assembled to take over the management of This Day Dome Treatment Centre.

“Surveillance, contact tracing and testing capacity is increasing in all states as more labs are being added to our network COVID-19 laboratories,” he said.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

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General news

Kogi to explore cultural diversity, tourism potential — Official

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Mr Femi Bolaji, Special Adviser to Kogi Governor on Culture and Tourism, says Kogi is ready to fully harness its cultural diversity and tourism potentials for the benefit of the people of the state.

Bolaji gave the assurance in a statement in Lokoja, to mark the ”World Cultural Day 2020”, with the theme: ”The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development”.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the World Cultural Day is celebrated every May 21, to encourage people around the world to come together in celebrating cultural diversity, and advocating for ways to protect and promote it in their own communities.

According to Bolaji, “culture is all that define us, knowing that culture and man cannot be separated which is why despite all the odds brought to the entire globe by COVID-19, we still live together strong and united.

”In this era of pandemic, culture will be celebrated in a grand style as we shall be getting prepared and ever ready to explore our heritage being the heart of the nation known to the world as the giant of Africa.

”The history of our nation made it known to citizen who cares to find out that the great Britain started it all from Lokoja, gave the nation the name NIGERIA after the river “Niger” (Niger Area) which is one of our numerous tourists centre of attraction.

”In our state alone, we are blessed with diverse cultural and tourism assets which are significant to the state and nation’s existence.

”Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State, has the Cenotaph used in World War 2, Lord Lugard’s residence and office, the Holy Trinity School by Bishop Ajayi Crowther in 1860 (the first school in the province), the European Cemeteries, Mount Patti with a flat top where one could see the confluence point of River Niger and River Benue, and the beauty of the state capital.

”All these and more are situated in the state capital alone; now is the time to make the world see them in a grand style,” Bolaji said.

He stressed that it was very clear that Kogi remained extremely blessed by nature and the post COVID-19 era would be to fully explore those great blessings.

“To educate our people on the benefits, significance, cultural protection, generate funds, promote its culture globally and make Kogi the great state that Gov. Yahaya Adoza Bello so much desired.

”The effects brought to our cultural activities by COVID-19 cannot be over emphasized and it is a great lesson to us; surely, we shall overcome because we have always won against pandemics and other diseases like Lassa fever and the rest, thus it shows the strength and uniqueness in us.

”Our culture will win against COVID-19 pandemic, we will win because of you the great sons and daughters of Kogi State.

“Our success will be attributed to the great effort of yours and when all this is over, the whole world will hear about us and our uniqueness,” Bolaji said.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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