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Alia’s Aide Urges Security Agents to Charge Benue NASS Caucus for Diverting Palliatives

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From Attah Ede, Makurd

Senior Special Assistant to the Benue state Governor, on Youth Mobilization and Empowerment, Mr. Moses Mkeenem, has accused the national assembly members from the State of diverting the palliatives given to them by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to distribute to their constituents during the last year’s Christmas celebration.

  

The SSA stated this at a press conference in Makurdi on Saturday.

 The youth’s leader described the unpatriotic and perturbing attitude of the National Assembly Caucus from Benue state, saying it is unfortunate the members are not reaching out to the people that voted them into power.

It would be recalled that the National Assembly at a press conference in Abuja recently, accused Governor Alia of not taking the issue of security seriously, even when he is taking huge amounts of money from the federal government as security votes.

They also alleged that the unjustly removal of the executive chairmen of the local government councils from office may have triggered the insecurity in the state.

But the senior special assistant debunked the allegations, saying they are baseless.

“They’re national assembly members are accusing the Governor wrongly because he has vehemently refused to share state’s funds with them.

“The Governor cannot share monies that come to the state with NASS members because the monies are meant for the development of the state.

“Alia is welcome to developmental ideas and anyone is welcomed to contribute his ideas but sharing of money cannot be done under this government. The Governor has been emphatic about this.”

“The national assembly members should come out and deliver the palliatives meant for their constituents rather than accusing the governor of spending his security votes”, Mkeenem, stated.

 He called on President Tinubu to investigate them and never to entrust them with such responsibilities anymore.

“I, on behalf of millions of Benue youths would like to yo also use this opportunity to convey to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that the palliatives he gave to the National Assembly members for onward distribution to their constituents sometime last year have not reached them.

“Therefore, the President should be careful when entrusting NASS members from Benue with palliatives,” he said.

The Adviser also condemned the legislators for “politicizing the unfortunate insecurity bedeviling Benue state” which he said Governor Alia was having sleepless nights to quell.

He called on the security agencies to charge those politicizing the insecurity in the state for treason saying they are the enemies of the state.

He also expressed worry that reliable information was gathered that some persons suspected to be from the National Assembly “wrote a letter and dropped for herders at the Nigerien borders that the anti-open grazing law has been relaxed now for them to come and occupy the state.”

“Instead of supporting the Governor and contributing to quell it, they are checking figures; how much is sent to the state and how much is withdrawn.

“Since he assumed office, Governor Alia has been applying and deploying all that is humanly possible to nip insecurity in the board in the state.

“Since then, insecurity in the Sankara axis has dropped drastically and sooner, the expected peace would rest on the state.”

He called on the Benue people to support the Alia Government to develop the state saying the Benue youths would no longer fold their hands and watch those at the National Assembly continue to abuse power and endanger the future of the people and that of the state.

NEWS

14 Die, 13 Injured in Kogi Auto Crash

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At least 14 persons died in a head-on coalition involving two Toyota buses on Sunday in Kogi.

Thirteen persons survived in the accident which occurred at Aloma community in Ofu Local Government Area of the state.

An eyewitness said that the accident involved a Toyota Sienna bus heading toward Abuja from Port Harcourt and a Toyota Hiace bus heading to the southern part of the country.

“Thirteen persons, including the driver of the Hiace bus were completely roasted by the fire that engulfed the bus immediately after the head-on coalition.

“One of the four surviving persons in the bus died in hospital from burns suffered bringing the number to 14 that died,’’ he said.

According to him, none of the 10 occupants of the Sienna Bus died, but were badly wounded and receiving treatment in a hospital.

He commended the villagers who quickly came to the scene of the accident and rescued the injured.

“It is because of their timely intervention that the Sienna bus did not get burnt as well,’’ he said.

The eyewitness blamed the accident on speeding and potholes on the road and added that it took rescuers three hours to remove the driver of the Sienna bus, whose two legs were badly damaged.

Contacted, the Kogi Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Samuel Oyedeji, confirmed the accident. (NAN)

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Disability Act: Stakeholders Worry Over Delayed Domestication in Benue

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By David Torough, Abuja

Stakeholders have expressed concern over delay in the domestication of Disability Act in Benue state and called on government to expedite passage of the law in the state.

At the stakeholders’ consultative meeting to domesticate the disability law in the state held Tuesday in Makurdi in collaboration with Inclusive friends Association (IFA), Hope Alive for Possibilities Initiative (HAPI) and JONAPWD, the Director General, Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, Dr Leonard Viashima, represented by the Technical Adviser on Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, John Akuse, however said governor Alia’s administration was willing to domesticate the law in the state.

In his address, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Affairs, Bem Anshe, who doubles as the chairman of JONAPWD, stressed the need for the domestication of the law in Benue, saying it would facilitate the inclusion of people with disability in governance.

Anshe decried the non-passage of the law in the state, lamenting that Benue was the only state in the North Central yet to domesticate it.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of IFA, Grace Jerry, represented by the Programme Manager of IFA, Stephen Idoko, noted that despite the challenges, she was confident that the forum would achieve its objective if all worked together.

She noted that the presence of stakeholders in the meeting reaffirmed the collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in the state.

On her part, Prof. Christy Anyogo from IFA expressed hope that Benue would soon join the league of states that have domesticated the disability law, saying governor Hyacinth Alia never looks back on whatever he wants to do.

The consultative forum was attended by stakeholders from the state ministry of Women Affairs, ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, traditional rulers, religious leaders, social investment programme agency, Albinism association of Nigeria, leprosy survivors and spinal cord injury.

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Enugu Embarks on Inspection of Smart Schools, Healthcare Projects Across State

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From Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu

Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah has charged contractors and the site engineers handling construction of the 260 smart schools and 260 Type-2 Primary Health facilities in the 260 wards of the state on the delivery of world-class projects that would stand the test of time.

Governor Mbah enjoined them to deploy quality materials and build according to specifications, warning that any sharp practices would attract stiff sanctions and rejection by the government.
He equally underscored the need for contractors to deliver their projects on schedule as stipulated in their terms of contract.The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, during an inspection tour of ongoing projects in Ezeagu LGA on Wednesday.
He said the purpose of the inspection by the project’s monitoring team, which also comprises the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr Gerald Otiji; Commissioner for Education, Prof Nwabueze Mbah; Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. Chris Robert Ozongwu; Chairman of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Dr. Gabriel Ajah; Special Adviser to the Governor on Projects Development and Implementation, Uche Nwatu, among others, was to ensure the quality and integrity of the projects, from start to finish.”We met with the contractors and their site engineers in all the sites we’ve visited. This is to ensure that there is no variation in the work specification, and that the quality of the materials they are using, starting from the foundation to completion, could guarantee the integrity and structural tests of these projects.”What His Excellency is setting out to achieve here is to make sure that we did not run the three risks that we know that are eminent in every construction, considering that a time will come in Enugu State when we will have almost five hundred live projects – smart schools, primary healthcare facilities – in all the 260 wards, in addition to the roads constructions that are going on across the board. So, we are building a very strong monitoring team that will address the quality aspect of it.”We are also taking into consideration the cost risk that comes when the time risk begins to happen, because, once we miss the timeline, the next is that we begin to discuss variation. So, this team here is to ensure that all risks are evaluated and compliance is strictly adhered to.”We are also working on engaging with the local stakeholders to ensure the security of the process here. So, that will help us address issues around theft of materials we brought to the site. But more importantly is that at the end of each project there will be sustainability and that these stakeholders will take ownership of these schools and other projects in their communities.”So, it is not just about monitoring, but also about building on all the key facets that will make sure that these projects achieve the objectives to have smart children and smart teachers coming out of our local governments and a smart workforce for the state,” Prof Onyia stated.That’s why we have accommodation for them and we are also going to ensure that Enugu generally has a smart workforce. That’s why we are here”.He allayed the fears over the culture of abandoned projects by various strata of the government, saying that the allocation of 33 per cent of the entire 2024 budget to education has guaranteed the start, completions, and handover of the smart school projects on schedule.On his part, Chairman of ENSUBEB, Dr. Ajah, said they were happy with the quality of work so far, adding that contractors were complying with specifications and corrections were immediately effected wherever there were gaps.Admonishing communities to take ownership of the projects, he urged them to see the facilities as their own by ensuring the security of the projects.”Security is everybody’s business. The people are happy. The government has never come to the people at ward level like this before now. So, I am calling on our people to protect these projects from vandals by taking charge and ownership of them”, he concluded.

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