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Bayelsa Harps on Grain Planting To Reduce Hunger

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From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa

The Bayelsa State Primary Health Care Board has called on all residents and farmers, particularly land owners, to start planting grains in this season in order to reduce the nutrition crisis.

Executive Secretary of the board, Dr Appah Williams disclosed this while speaking to members of the Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS-SUNN during a courtesy visit to his office in Yenagoa.

Dr Williams explained that grains are needed and the cheapest of them is corn which is easy to plant, saying it can be used for making nutritious meals for children and even breastfeeding mothers.

“We need to build our grain bank.

If you have a land or any land around you, plant corn, it can be used to feed fowls, cows and fish, reducing the cost of buying feed for these animals. It can also be used to make pap and other food’s good for infants and breastfeeding mothers.”

“We need cheap food, we need a feeding plan for breastfeeding mothers, a feeding plan that can be used with little resources especially for those not working.”

While speaking on the Primary Health Care Centres across the local government areas in the state, he emphasized the need for all health workers to be diligent in carrying out their duties by ensuring that people at the rural areas have daily access to medical services.

“Our biggest problem is not shortage of manpower but inefficiency, people should go to work, our health centres should be opened every time to attend to people.”

He urged the stakeholders in the communities to ensure that the Primary Health Care Centres are properly located and secured for health workers to function optimally.

“We all have a role to play for the effectiveness of our primary health care centers, we should treat them well, take care of the facilities there, let the place be safe and protected for workers to do their jobs.”

The State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Bayelsa State, Mrs Ekinabhari Unity-Ototo pointed out that the essence of the visit was to inform the board about the activities of CS-SUNN, solicit for increase in budgetary allocation for nutrition to reduce malnutrition, and as well as the extension of maternity leave.

Also speaking, Lead Advocacy, CS-SUNN, Bayelsa State chapter, Lady Eunice Nnachi said good nutrition is essential in the growth of any child hence all stakeholders should support the increment of nutrition budget.

Nnachi called for the extension of maternity leave to six months saying it would also help to reduce malnutrition as exclusive breastfeeding is beneficial to both the mother and children.

She noted that CS-SUNN in partnership with UNICEF is working with relevant stakeholders in Bayelsa State to improve food and nutrition among women and children.

POLITICS

APC is the Answer to Nigeria’s Problems, Says Ganduje

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Dr Umar Ganduje, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has said that the party would provide solutions to the challenges bedevilling the country.

Ganduje stated this during the APC grand finale campaign and presentation of party flags to the 11 local councils chairmanship candidates, on Wednesday in Gombe.

The Gombe State Independent Electoral Commission (GOSIEC) had fixed April 27, for LG polls in the state.

Ganduje, who presented APC flags to the candidates, said the party under President Bola Tinubu was doing a lot to tackle the challenges of the country and get Nigeria transformed for the better.

He said the Tinubu administration was creating the right environment for the country’s development and economic prosperity.

“With the manifesto and the constitution of the APC, the party has achieved a lot at the national level under President Tinubu.

“And you have seen what APC has achieved in Gombe State under Gov. Inuwa Yahaya.

“It is now clear that APC is the answer to Nigeria’s problems,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to support and pray for the administration of President Tinubu to sustain the transformation of the country.

Ganduje commended the governor for keying into the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu and working hard towards transforming the state.

According to him, Gombe is now a reference point for peace and development.

He said the APC remained proud of what have been achieved in Gombe State, describing it, “as one of the best progressive states in the country”.

While receiving decampees from opposition parties, Ganduje urged residents of the state to vote for APC candidates.

“As long as APC remains in power, the people of the state will never lack good governance,” he said.

Also, Yahaya thanked the members of the APC National Working Committee for coming to galvanise support for the party candidates ahead of Saturday’s council elections in the state.

The governor assured that the party would sweep polls in the election.

NAN reports that Ganduje earlier inaugurated the newly constructed Nayi Nawa- Bypass road named him. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Enugu Lawmakers Differ over Bill to Criminalise Payment of Ransom to Kidnappers

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Some lawmakers at the Enugu State House of Assembly have opposed the bill for a law to criminalise the payment of ransom to kidnappers in the state.

The bill to amend the 2004 Criminal Code Law, when enacted,  would ensure that anybody who pays ransom for the release of a kidnapped victim is jailed for 15 years.

Leading a debate during the plenary on Tuesday in Enugu, the Leader of the House, Mr.

Iloabuchi Aniagu, said that criminalising payment of ransom had become important, as criminals had turned it to a lucrative business.

Aniagu argued that stopping people from paying the ransom would make kidnapping to die a natural death, stressing that ransom is the lifewire of the kidnapping.

Also contributing, Mr  Chima Obieze, representing Ezeagu Constituency, said that kidnappers would stop kidnapping business once the people stop or no longer willing to the pay the outrageous ransom.

Obieze alleged that some security personnel, including police and military officers were involved in the kidnappings going on in the state.

Subsequently, Mr Malachi Onyechi representing Nsukka West Constituency, disagreed with the bill, noting that the people paid ransom because of the ineffectiveness of the security personnel to rescue kidnapped victims.

According to him, the security in the country have not lived up to the constitutional responsibilities, so this is not the best time to amend the Criminal Code Law.

In his submission, Mr Harrison Ogara representing Igbo-Eze South Constituency, said while he supported that government should not negotiate with kidnappers, extending such to individual was not a welcomed development.

According to Ogara, the amendment is not timely considering that there is no adequate police officers to police the country let alone the State.

“In Igbo-Eze South Local Government Area, there are only 32 police officers,”

Also, Mr Osita Okoh representing Enugu East Urban constituency warned that amending the Criminal Code Law would promote and worsen the case of kidnapping in the state.

Okoh revealed that families of those kidnapped from Nike were usually directed to pay ransom at Ọkpatu in Udi LGA, noting that people paid ransom to kidnappers to avoid them from dying at the kidnapper’s den.

He called for the stepping down of the bill to enable its drafter to expunge sections that would cause problem for the citizens of the state who wanted to save the lives of their loved ones.

In the same vein, the Speaker of the assembly, Chief Uche Ugwu, overruled the motion to step down the bill, but directed the House Committees on Economic Development, Youths and Security as well as Judiciary to critically look into the bill.

Ugwu asked the Committees to submit their report to the House in the next one week. (NAN)

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POLITICS

Ex-Imo Governor, Ihedioha Dumps PDP After 26 Years

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A formal governor of Imo State Emeka Ihedioha has left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), 26 years after joining one of Nigeria’s leading political parties.

Having been one of the party’s founding members, Ihedioha cited a variance of “personal beliefs” as part of his reason for quitting the PDP.

“Regrettably, in recent times, the party has taken on a path that is at variance with my personal beliefs.

Despite my attempt to offer counsel, the party is, sadly no longer able to carry out internal reforms, enforce its own rules, or offer credible opposition to the ruling All Progressives Congress,” he said in a letter addressed to the party’s chairman in the Mbutu Ward of Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.

“It is in the light of the foregoing, that I am compelled to offer my resignation from the People’s Democratic Party effective immediately.”

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