President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development and its agencies to address urgent threats posed by explosive remnants in the North East region.
Mr Femi Adesina, the president’s spokesman, said Buhari issued the directive on the occasion of World Humanitarian Day 2022, in Maiduguri, Borno, on Thursday.
He affirmed government’s commitment to reducing the effect of disasters, climate change, insurgency and challenges of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
He also directed the Ministry and its agencies to pay particular attention to emerging issues amid the return and rehabilitation of Nigerians displaced in the 13-year conflict and insurgency in the region.
He said: ”The emerging issues include the increasing number of orphans and widows.
”From our experience in the unfortunate Civil War, I know the threat that unexploded ordnances can pose to returnees even after the conflict has ended as we saw in the latest IED incident in Bama just last week.
”I urge the Ministry and its agencies as well as State Governments and the Special Committee I have set up under the Chairmanship of the Vice President to come up with specific programmes and projects.
”These projects would respond to these emerging challenges of explosive ordnance as well as that of children orphaned by insurgency.”
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari reiterated his directive to security agencies to take the fight to the hideouts of the criminal elements and ensure ”they are completely eliminated.”
He said: ”The Men and Officers of Operation Lafiya Dole, security agencies and the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), are very much appreciated for their commitment to the fight against insurgency.
”I commend their professionalism and tactical penetration to the hideout of the criminal elements, leading to appreciable improvement of the security situation in this North East Region, without which the resettlement of the IDP’s would not be possible.
”I, therefore, implore you not to relent in your efforts, continue to take the fight to their hideouts and ensure they are completely eliminated.
”I also implore you to ensure adequate security for farmers in their farming activities. agricultural activities are most needed for settlement and development of the rural areas and this can only be achieved if the farmers are sure of their safety.”
On World Humanitarian Day, commemorated annually on August 19, Buhari commended all humanitarian aid workers that provide the much-needed assistance to those afflicted by the conflict.
He praised humanitarian aid workers across the globe for distinguishing themselves through their courage, commitment and drive to help their fellow humans in need – often at extreme personal risk to themselves.
”This typifies the nature of humanitarian work and sacrifice, and it is a great testimony for the theme of this year’s World Humanitarian Day which is “It Takes a Village,” he said.
The president led other guests at the event in Maiduguri to observe a minute of silence in memory of all who lost their lives in disasters and humanitarian workers who died in the line of duty.
‘‘On this 2022 World Humanitarian Day and every other day, we stand and shall continue to stand in solidarity with humanitarian aid workers and recognize their tremendous service and sacrifice.
”We celebrate their tireless efforts to save lives, preserve human dignity, and alleviate suffering. Their selfless commitment and actions stand as an example to us all.
”We will also make sure that they have our backing by ensuring that the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Social Development facilitates their work,” he pledged,” he said.
Buhari also used the occasion to appreciate retired Gen. Theophilus Danjuma for his support to Borno Government in rehabilitating many IDPs in the North East.
He described Danjuma’s humanitarian assistance as significant and patriotic, urging other Nigerians and organisations with the means to support humanitarian work.
The president also thanked the UNDP, the European Union, the government of USA, United Kingdom and Germany, as well as other foreign establishments for their support in complementing the Administration’s effort to stabilize the North East Region.
He urged all relevant public, private and international agencies to support government’s drive to rehabilitate IDPs, care for victims of insurgency as well as commitment to ”on-going processes concerning Boko Haram/ISWAP members willing to surrender.”
In his welcome address, Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno said “the state is enjoying relative peace and stability, thanks to the sacrifices of gallant soldiers, security agencies, local vigilantes and the MNJTF.’’
He commended the president for his leadership and the successes recorded so far in the war against terror in the region.
The governor also hailed the establishment of North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the ongoing installation of a 50MW power generation plant to provide electricity in the State.
He also thanked the president for the recent approval of N15billion for the repatriation of citizens from the North East living in Chad, Niger and Cameroon as a result of the displacement caused by the insurgency.
Citing figures from Aid Worker Security Database, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq disclosed that since 2016, 35 aid workers lost their lives, 22 wounded and 28 kidnapped.
She added that since the beginning of this year, six aid workers were kidnapped in the country.
On the choice of Borno for this year’s event, the minister explained that it was meant to highlight the humanitarian situation and plight of IDPs in the region and to inspire the much needed change.
While in Borno, Buhari inaugurated the Bulunkutu Teachers’ Quarters on Airport road and Molai 500 low-cost housing estate for IDPs constructed by the State Government with support of the Federal Government. (NAN)
Gov. Diri Queries Bayelsa Population Figures
From Mike Tayese, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has faulted the population figures attributed to the state by the National Population Commission (NPC), of which he described as “grossly under-estimated.”
Diri made this known on Tuesday, during a Stakeholder Summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census held at Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall, Government House Yenagoa.
Buttressing his claim, the governor stressed that the state had grown beyond the current structure of eight local government areas, and noted that “the projected population of Yenagoa, the state capital, points to the fact that the state’s population was misrepresented.
A statement by Diri’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that such faulty census figures were responsible for the under-representation of Bayelsa in the House of Representatives with only five members.
Diri said Bayelsa State’s recent growth and contributions to the national economy as a result of its oil resources should give her more representation in the federal government.
“By the 2006 census figures, Bayelsa had a population of 1,704,515. That figure was not correct; we are hopeful that the next exercise will give a more reliable and acceptable figure.
“Our government is convinced that the National Population Commission has the commitment and capacity to deliver to Nigerians and, indeed, to Bayelsa State very credible, reliable, valid, and acceptable population figures.
“As a government, we are deeply concerned that Bayelsa has grown beyond the current structure of eight local governments. Clearly, we are under-represented in the House of Representatives with only five members. The current projected population of Yenagoa points to these facts. With our exponential growth and contributions to the national economy from our oil resources, we deserve more federal presence.”
Diri said the NPC needed to realize that an accurate census was critical for the nation’s democracy and economy because it underpins fair representation in government and enables those in authority to make appropriate funding for healthcare, schools, roads, and other critical infrastructure.
The state’s helmsman added that population figure was one of the basic parameters in the sharing of revenue, particularly in Nigeria.
In her address, the Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission in charge of Bayelsa State, Mrs. Gloria Izonfuo, said that the 2023 census would be fully digitalized in line with United Nations principles and recommendations for the 2020 round of Population and Housing Censuses.
Mrs. Izonfuo, who was a former Head of Service in Bayelsa, said the Commission had deployed technology to conduct the exercise and enhance data quality.
She expressed the Commission’s commitment to deliver credible and reliable census as well as ensuring that the results of the exercise are acceptable to Nigerians and the quality of the data to be generated meets international standards for planning and developmental purposes.
Izonfuo added that the stakeholder’s summit was the first of several meetings to be held in the state and thanked the government and people of the state for the support to the Commission.
In their goodwill messages, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, the Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State Command, Ben Okolo, and Chairman, Bayelsa State Founding Fathers, Chief Benedict Gwembe, said population census was strategic to enable the government plan for every sector, including the creation of more voting centers in the country.
They also stressed the need for more census enumerators to be deployed in the rural areas as well as provided sensitization on the need for people to participate in the process.
They assured the Commission of their support to assist it to conduct ahitch-free and successful 2023 national population and housing census.
Flood Kills 23, Displaces 116,000 in Benue- BSEMA
The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (BSEMA) says no fewer than 23 persons have died as a result of flooding in the state since the beginning of the rainy season.
The Executive Secretary, Dr Emmanuel Shior, announced this while kick-starting the distribution of relief materials to flood victims on Tuesday in Makurdi.
He said that 116,084 persons had also been displaced as a result of the flooding in some parts of the state.
Shior said that the 116,084 displaced persons cut across 12,856 households in 11 local government areas.
“74 persons are having different degrees of injuries. 14 out of the 23 deaths arose from boat mishap in Guma Local Government Area,” he said.
The executive secretary further stated that the flooding had so far affected 14,040 hectares of farmlands while 4,411 houses had been submerged.
“Schools and markets, companies, houses and farmlands located in 104 communities are affected,” he said.
He listed the affected local government areas as, Guma, Vandeikya, Otukpo, Katsina-ala, Makurdi, Apa, Agatu, Tarka, Gboko, Gwer-West and Logo.
”The victims are in need of immediate support. That is the reason for this exercise.
”We began with Makurdi and Agatu because they are the worst hit with 34 and 28 affected communities respectively.
”The victims in Agatu who are currently taking refuge along the Federal Highway will soon be relocated to Obagaji,” he said.
Also speaking at the event, Mr John Digah, Principal Researcher and Rescue Officer, National Emergency Management Agency, said the agency had deployed water treatment machine to support the victims with potable water.
Digah said that the machine had the capacity to treat 2,000 litres of water within an hour.
”In the past two days, we have treated and distributed 140,000 litres of water to the victims,” he said.(NAN)
Senate Passes Bill to Increase Justices of Court Appeal from 90 to 110
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill amending the Court of Appeal Act, 2013 increasing the number of Justices of Court of Appeal from 90 to 110 .
This followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and legal Matters by Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Bamidele Opeyemi(APC-Ekiti).
Opeyemi in his lead debate said the bill sponsored by Sen.
According to him, the legislative intent of the amendment is to ensure that the court has the requisite manpower to allow cooperation of all the divisions of the court.
He said the bill was designed to bring justice closer to litigants in line with the current reality at expediting the administration of Justice.
“This is necessary in order to eliminate delay in the justice delivery systems, as it relates to the adjudicatory powers of the court
“This proposed amendments undoubtedly is targeted at increasing the work load of the court and enhance its effective performance,” he said.
He said that stakeholders were unanimous in their support of the passage of the bill, given its strategic relevance to the justice sector reform.
He said the amendment would ultimately stimulate quick dispensation of justice
“The one silent improvement of this bill is the aspect that seeks to integrate virtual court proceedings which have become an integral part of our court proceedings.
” This also is in line with the guildline, given to courts by the Chief Justice of the Federation, as justice will no longer be delayed,” he said.
The Senate also stood down a bill for an act to provide for the rotation of power in the country.
This followed a submission by senators Bala Ib’n Nala(APC-Kebbi) and Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege that the bill was in conflict with the provision of 1999 Constitution.
The bill was sponsored by Sen.Abba Moro (PDP-Benue).
Presenting the bill,Moro said that it sought to enact a legislation to amend provisions of the constitution and provide for rotations of the presidency among the geo- political zones of the country.
The Senate also passed the National Health Act amendment Bill 2014 and the Federal University of Medicine and Medical Science Egbe, Kogi establishment bill.
This following the adoption of the reports of Senate Committee on Health (Secondary and Tertiary).(NAN)
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