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Bayelsa Deputy Gov Solicits Increased Support to LGs

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has thrown his weight behind calls for the sustenance and adequate support to local government councils in the country.

He also allayed the fear in some quarters that the present administration was planning to scrap the 32 Rural Development Areas (RDAs) in the state.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who spoke at a meeting with principal officers of the 32 RDAs at his office in Yenagoa, said government is taking steps to strengthen the local government system through some reforms.

He urged those clamouring for the scrapping of local councils as the third tier of government to properly diagnose the challenges affecting the functionality of local government areas.

Underscoring the importance of councils and RDAs as the nearest level of government to the people at the grassroots, the Deputy Governor called for concerted efforts to rejig the system for effective service delivery.

He expressed hope that ongoing reforms in the eight local government councils would also positively impact on the RDAs and improve the quality of life in rural communities.

Responding to the requests of the G32 leaders, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said that government would tackle their demands based on priority and availability of funds.

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The Deputy Governor said, “The local governments were created to achieve a purpose, if they are not achieving the intended purpose, I am of the strong opinion that we must do a critical evaluation and see if the RDAs have been aided and motivated enough before we talk about scrapping them.

“Meanwhile, let me use this opportunity to assure you that this government appreciates the pivotal role councils and the RDAs are playing, so we have no intention whatsoever to scrap them.

“Our intention is to address the financial hemorrhage in the local government areas. Our idea is to try to rejig the system and give them all the support they need to achieve their responsibilities.”

“We must work together, both the 8 local government councils and the state. The benefits are enormous because if the local governments are working, you are making a direct impact to the communities and the people within the localities.

Earlier, Chairman of the G32, Mr Singer ThankGod, thanked the state government for the ongoing reforms in the local governments, and appealed for the completion of uncompleted secretariat projects n all the RDAs.

The group also pleaded for increment of allowances for principal officers, payment of promotion arrears and provision of office spaces for workers in the councils.

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Yobe Enrols 17,000 Destitute for Free Medical Programme

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Dr Babagana Tijjani, Executive Secretary, Yobe State Contributory Healthcare Management Agency (YSCHMA) says the agency has so far enrolled over 17,000 poor people under its Social Equity Programme (SEP).

In a statement by the Agency’s Public Relations Officer, Alhaji Suleiman Bakoro, in Damaturu, on Friday, Tijjani  stated this at a workshop on utilization of Basic Healthcare Provision Funds (BHPF).

He said that Gov. Mai Mala Buni recently approved N200 million for the implementation of the programme, would fast track the attainment of Universal Healthcare Coverage (UHC).

Tijjani noted that the SEP was one of the numerous programmes initiated by the governor to enhance access to free and qualitative healthcare services by the people.

On the BHCPF, the executive secretary said, the programme, jointly funded by the state and the Federal Government, also targeted the poor and vulnerable.

He said as at Aug. 25, the agency had paid capitations of 22,024 beneficiaries, adding that the figure represented “97.9% of BHCPF coverage target based on available funds disbursed through the NHIS gateway”.

Tijjani thanked the NHIS for organizing the workshop meant to build the capacity of the management and staff of the agency to perform their duties more effectively.

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In his remarks, the state NHIS Co-ordinator, Mr Abubakar Dabo, said that the objective of the workshop was to bring all stakeholders together to discuss implementation and utilization of the BHCPF.

He charged YSCHMA to ensure that operational guidelines were strictly adhered to in the utilisation of the funds.(NAN)

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ActionAid Secure £1.3m to Mobilise Youths, Women for Governance

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From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

ActionAid Nigeria has secured a £1.3 million grant from the United Kingdom through the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to increase women and youths’ participation in politics and governance in 2023 general elections.

The Women-Youth Project (We-You) is aimed at campaigning for women and young people in governance across Rivers, Kaduna, and Kano states.

The project will, among others, mobilise a critical mass of young people and women leading issue-based campaigns towards translating citizens’ demands into policy action in the benefiting states.

While Nigeria currently ranked 146th out of 152 countries in the global gap index on political empowerment, in the legislature, only 4.5 per cent are women.

The ActionAid County Director, Ene Obi, at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the British High Commission, noted that the overall goal of the project was to contribute to the all-inclusive democratic process and enhance citizen-led action towards the improvement of good governance in the country.

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We’ll Complete Sagbama-Ekeremor Road in First Tenure – Diri

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From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has expressed satisfaction with work on the second phase of the Sagbama-Ekeremor road project in the Bayelsa West Senatorial District.

Governor Diri, who defied the rains on Wednesday to inspect the 42-kilometre road from Toru-Orua to Ekeremor, told newsmen at Aleibiri that the project would be completed in his first tenure.

The road, which was started by his predecessor, is one of several ongoing similar projects embarked upon by Governor Diri’s Prosperity Administration.

He said if the contractor kept to the terms of the contract, all sections of the road would be completed as scheduled.

Diri assured the people of Bayelsa West of his commitment to fulfill his promises to them.

“I can actually see value for money. I am satisfied and I believe that the terms of the contract would be kept. The contractor promised to deliver the project on time as scheduled.

“We also told Bayelsans that in this first tenure we shall hit Ekeremor. The terms of the contract are such that it is tailored towards the end of our first tenure. Hopefully and by God’s grace we expect that this road and this stretch would be completed in no distant time,” he said.

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Also speaking, the Project Manager for Sectraco Construction Company, Engr. I. Julian, said the road is divided into two sections – Toru-Orua to Aleibiri (28km) and Aleibiri to Ekeremor (14km).

The project manager said at the moment, more work was being done on section one while some level of progress had being achieved on section two.

Julian commended the governor for consistently inspecting project sites, which he said contributed to the progress recorded so far.

He promised that the company would give its best to the state by delivering quality projects and on time too.

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