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River basin to create farm settlement in Auchi for food sufficiency



“Songhai farming is the best model of farming and I urge many Nigerians to embrace the model of agriculture from Auchi experience,” he said.


Boko Haram: Drivers offer free rides to returning residents of Auno



As residents of Auno town in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno, troop back home following assurance of adequate security by Gov. Babagana Zulum, commercial drivers plying Maiduguri-Damaturu road, are giving them free ride.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that residents of Auno which is few kilometres from Maiduguri, deserted the town in February following an insurgents attack that led to many deaths and destruction of properties.

A driver, Bukar Gwange, said that the gesture was part of the drivers  support to the returnees as they wish to see the once bubbling town bounce back to life.

“Auno is a place we use to get passengers and loads to and fro Maiduguri. When the sad incident happened in February, we were sad as it affected many of our colleagues and passengers.

“Now that the residents are returning home, we feel the best we can do is to give them free ride,”Gwange said.

Another driver, Ali Mohammed, told NAN that they always picked the returnees at Njimtilo area, in the outskirt of Maiduguri.

He said that after dropping the returnees in Auno, the driver used the opportunity to pick passengers who are going back to Maiduguri from Ngamdu and Beneshiek

“That way, we get little money to ease the hardship caused by the lockdown due to the existing ban on inter state travels,” Mohammed said.

Dauda Mustafa, another commercial driver, said the free ride was a blessing in disguise as security personnel along the road also appreciated the gesture and no longer  subject them to tedious screenings and delays.

Meanwhile, Gov. Zulum had already directed that an operational outreach office where he would be working from time-to-time, be set up for him in Auno,  so as to boost the people’s confidence.

The governor has also established zonal office of the state Rapid Response Squad, made up of police, hunters, vigilante and Civilian Joint Task Force in Auno.

According to the Commander of the squad, CSP Abioye Babalola, the team would not only ensure security in Auno and its environs, but also be on constant patrol and respond to distress calls along the busy Maiduguri-Damaru road.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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C’River commissioner tasks newly elected LG chairmen on leadership



Following the inauguration of the newly elected chairmen of the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Cross River, the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Mrs Stella Odey, on Thursday urged the chairmen to demonstrate grassroots-oriented leadership.

Odey made the call at the maiden meeting with the chairmen in Calabar.

She advised them to take into cognisance the immediate needs of the rural dwellers and initiate innovations that would trigger better means of livelihood for the rural dwellers.

“I urge you as council chairmen to have a harmonious working relationship with the Ministry of Local Government Affairs. With that, I am optimistic that the dividends of democracy would be felt in the 18 LGAs in no time.

“Power comes from God; so, you have to place God first at the centre of all your affairs to be successful,” she said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Mr James Odok, in a goodwill message, applauded the council chairmen for their victory at the polls despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Odok implored the local government council executives to explore creative means of boosting their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), which would foster development at the grassroots level, especially with the present economic downturn.

Responding on behalf of the other Chairmen, Mr Emmanuel Bassey, Chairman, Akpabuyo LGA, promised that they would strive to have a cordial working relationship with the ministry as well as protect the interests of their people in the discharge of their duties.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that earlier, the newly elected chairmen elected their executives and the Chairman of Akpabuyo LGA, Mr Emmanuel Bassey emerged as the Chairman.

Other members of the executives are, Mr Emmanuel Ishabor, Ogoja LGA as Secretary; and Mr Ofem Ebri of Yakurr LGA as Treasurer.

Edited By: Folasade Adeniran/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

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C’River LG service commission lauds Ayade over training of civil servants



The Cross River State Local Government Service Commission on Thursday lauded Gov. Ben Ayade for creating an enabling environment for the training of civil servants in records and information management in the state.

The Commission’s Chairman, Dr Peter Adigeb, who was represented by the Supervisory Commissioner for Boki Local Government Council made the commendation at the beginning of training of 200 civil servants in Boki.

He said that the civil servants would also be trained in information, security, and preparation of financial records, among others.

Adigeb noted that training and retraining of staff was an inherent mandate of the commission.

“I like to commend the Boki Local Government Council in general and the Department of Education specifically for blazing the trail in manpower development and training.

“In spite of the daunting security challenges facing Boki, which has rendered many residents of the council area internally displaced, you commenced the training,’’ he said.

Also, Mr Emmanuel Otu, Head of Local Government Administration for Boki, urged the commission to invoke extant rules of reward mechanism on deserving staff to serve as incentive to the performing ones and motivation to others.

For her part, the Director of Boki Local Government Health Authority, Mrs Rose Ikobi stressed the need to ensure the observance of all protocols as set by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control to prevent the spread of COVID-19

Ikobi ensured that participants washed their hands and wore masks, used hand sanitiser while maintaining social distance.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that resource persons for the training were drawn from different fields of endeavour including the Local Government Service Commission, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) among others.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Felix Ajide (NAN)


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Thailand’s rubber agency to push for construction of riverside rubber embankments




A large volume of rubber might be used in the construction of riverside rubber embankments throughout Thailand in an effort to promote its domestic use instead of export.

Uthai Sonlaksap, chairperson of the Rubber Network Council and Rubber Farmers Institute of Thailand, said on Thursday that his agency is yet to submit a proposal to the National Rubber Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The proposal is made for the planned use of some 500,000 tons of rubber in the construction of the anti-flooding rubber embankments along the banks of 25 rivers in all regions of the country.

If initially approved by the committee and finally by the government, an estimated 100-billion-baht (about 3.16 billion U.S. dollars) budget will be provided for rubber embankment projects to be carried out nationwide, according to the rubber agency’s chairperson.

That sum of money to finance the planned rubber levee scheme might be secured from a 500-billion-baht (about 15.81 billion U.S. dollars) government budget, which have no been allocated under an executive decree for postpandemic social and economic restoration measures.

Instead of exporting a large volume of rubber at lowered prices to the world markets, Uthai said, Thailand might look to use more of it within the country to create jobs and raise more incomes for local villagers, who might be hired in such rubber levee project.

Some 360,000 tons of rubber might be used in the planned making of rubber fender barriers along 12,000 km of roads throughout the country, according to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.

Rubber farmers will earn more income by directly providing their product to road-building agencies, namely the Department of Highways and the Department of Rural Roads.

Such rubber fender barrier project is primarily designed to make a substantial domestic use of rubber, which would be otherwise bound for export, according to the minister.

As the world‘s biggest producer and exporter of natural rubber, Thailand’s total rubber production increased for 2.43 percent from 13.54 million tons in 2017 to 13.87 billion tons in 2018, according to Rubber Statistical Bulletin.

Thai rubber accounts for up to 40 percent of global supply but Thai rubber farmers have struggled with low prices in recent years due to decline in global demand.


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Rivers may demolish markets for flouting COVID-19 directives, says Commissioner



The Rivers Government warned on Wednesday that some markets in the state might be demolished for flouting the order of the government that trading should stop at the markets because of COVID-19.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Paulinus Nsirim, gave the warning in a statement issued in Port Harcourt.

He lamented that traders had continued to flout government’s directives that markets should be shut, due to rising cases of the coronavirus in the state.

Nsirim said that five markets in the state might be shut down permanently for flouting the directives. He did not elaborate.

The Rivers Government wishes to draw the attention of the general public that Mbiama Market has been closed down.

“Any attempt to continue trading activities at Mbiama Market will lead to complete demolition of the market.

The commissioner named Oginigba Market and two others as markets notorious for disobeying Gov. Nyesom Wike that the markets should be closed.

“The government warns that anybody who goes to Oginigba Market for any form of business will face the full wrath of the law.

Similarly, Oil Mill Market has been closed and as such all those using Igbo-Etche Road as an alternative market are warned to desist forthwith or risk destruction of their goods.

“Government has not approved any goat market at the Eleme/Ahoada stretch of the East-West road in the state.”

Nsirim directed authorities of Emohua and Ahoada-East Councils to shut down the goat market in the area immediately.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Federal Road Projects: FEC approves refunds of N148bn to Rivers, Ondo, 3 others



The Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved refund of N148billion expended on federal roads by Rivers, Cross River, Ondo, Bayelsa  and Osun states.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the  third virtual meeting of the FEC, held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mohammed said the approval of the refund followed a memo presented by the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola.

He said: “You will recall that in 2016, 36 states of the federation sent a very huge bill to the federal government, asking for compensation for money that they have expended on federal roads.

This prompted Mr President to set up a committee to go and verify the claims of these 36 states, whether indeed these projects were actually constructed, were they completed, in line with the federal government standards.

“At the end of that exercise by an inter-ministerial committee, chaired by the minister of works and housing, but also had Ministers of Education, Transportation, Finance, Minister of State for Works, DG BPP and Permanent Secretary Cabinet Office as members.

“At the end of that exercise, the committee recommended that the federal government should refund N550,364,297.31 billion to 31 of the 36 states, after they were convinced that, yes indeed, the projects were completed and they were federal government roads.

“But the claims of five other states Cross River, Rivers, Ondo, Bayelsa and Osun failed on the grounds that they did not do proper documentation and the committee felt they needed proper documentation.

“So, the committee went back with new terms of reference to ensure that the claims of the five states were in order, that is why the BPP is on the committee.

“So, at the end of the exercise, the committee now reported that the five states – Cross River with 20 roads and one bridge will get a refund of N18,394,737,608.85, Ondo with six roads to get a refund of N7,822,147,577.08, and Osun with two roads and one bridge to get a refund of N2,468,938,876.78.

Others are Bayelsa with five roads and one bridge is to get a refund of N38,040,564,783.40 and Rivers with three roads and three flyovers bridges is to get a refund of N78,953,067,518.29.”

Mohammed said the committees confirmed the roads and the bridges, that not only were they completed, they were in substantial good form, adding that some of the bridges and roads were built about 10 years ago.

He, however, disclosed that “there is a caveat, as the federal government will pay the states but however, henceforth, if any state takes on federal government road, it will not be paid, they will not get any refund.

“Even if you want to pay from your own pocket, you will still need the permission of the federal government and it will be supervised by the federal ministry of works and housing.”

According to him, the modalities of refund are being worked out and payment will be made over a period of time.

Mohammed said 31 states were earlier paid the sum of over N550 billion as refund for the reconstruction of federal roads in their respective states.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Don’t expect long vacation after sch. resumption, commissioner tells C’ River students



Dr. Godwin Amanke, Cross River Commissioner for Quality Education, has ruled out the possibility of pupils and students in the state enjoying  the usual long vacation when schools resume.

Amanke said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Calabar that students would go straight to third term after resumption.

According to him, 70 per cent of schools in the state are through with their second term examination before the sudden closure of schools caused by COVID-19.

He said those schools that were not able to round-off their examination, would continue after resumption, adding  that immediately examinations were concluded,  the third term would commence and run through the weeks that students were supposed to go for their annual long vacation.

On the the issue of reopening schools, he said, it was not a one man or state affair because Cross River was not isolated from the other states.

“We cannot talk about reopening schools at the moment because Cross River is not in isolation but in relation with other states and the Federal Government.

“So, other stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Education, Health and Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 (PTF) will have to be involved.

“The state ministries of education run with the policies, curriculum and syllabus as directed by the Federal Ministry of Education.

“Ordinarily, we will have said schools should reopen in the state because we have no case of COVID-19, but that won’t be in tandem with the Federal Government’s policy on ground in relationship to COVID-19,” he said.

He however called on the students in the state to take advantage of the Ayade digital learning initiative and the school on radio to learn at home.

NAN reports that as at Wednesday June 3, Cross River has remained the only state in Nigeria that was yet to officially have a case of COVID-19.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma (NAN)

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Women protest cultists invasion in Rivers community



Some women in Port Harcourt on Tuesday took to the streets to protest invasion of their community by gunmen suspected to be cultists.

The women, who are indigenes of Owube community in Ahoada West Local Government Area in Rivers, decried incessant attacks by suspected cultists in their community.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the protesters later  converged at the Government House with placards reading: “Save Our Soul”, “Enough is Enough” and “We want to live”, among others.

Some of the women who spoke with NAN said that cultists were daily raping women on their farmlands.

They urged the Rivers Government and security agencies to intervene in the matter and protect them.

Mrs Florence Eric said that women in the community were now living in fear due to the frequent rape and kidnap by the hoodlums.

“The cult boys in our community do not allow us to go to our farmlands again. They attack, rape and kidnap us everyday.

“We can no longer go out to look for food to eat. We want government to help us in any way they can, because we need to survive this challenge,” she said.

Mrs Victoria Ekpeye said that the cultists were demanding ‘settlement’ from the community to end their siege on the area.

“The boys said they need money from us to leave the community, but they did not mention how much money they need,” she added.

On her part, Franco Confidence said the protesters decided to submit their petition to the state government after several concerted efforts made to end insecurity in the area failed.

She said after exhausting all options of ending the crises, that the community later engaged the services of a popular local vigilante.

The ONELGA Security, Peace and Advisory Committee (OSPAC) comes at night to secure the area, but the cultist now come in the afternoon to kidnap and rape women.

“We are really tired of living with this challenge for five years now. We want Gov. Wike to come to our aid, because we are tired of sleeping in the bush,” she said.

The protesters also called on the police to establish a police post in the community to end the rising insecurity in the area.  

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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CR -SIEC issues certificate of return to elected chairmen, counsellors in C/River




The Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission (CR-SIEC) on Tuesday issued Certificate of Return to winners of last Saturday’s Chairmanship and Counsellorship elections in 18 Local Government Councils.

Chairman of the commission, Dr Mike Ushie, while issuing the certificate in Calabar , urged them to carry everybody along, irrespective of political affiliation.

“Once you are sworn-in, you must see yourself as chairman of everybody in your local government. You are chairman of the entire council, no longer for party ‘A’ or party ‘B’ “he said.

He further urged the chairmen to always key into the programmed of the State Government in order to ensure rapid development of the state.

He congratulated them over their victory at the polls, adding that it was a result of hard work and trust by their people.

One of the councillors- elect, Miss Grace Unah, expressed happiness and promised to be a good representative.

Unah was elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Igede ward, Yala Local Government Area.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the PDP won all the Chairmanship and  Councilor  positions in the 18 local council elections.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin (NAN)

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