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Ogun Deputy Governor Urges Accurate Boundary Demarcation

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Kunle Idowu, Abeokuta

Ogun State Deputy Governor, Engr. (Mrs.) Noimot Salako-Oyedele has stressed the need to work out proper modalities for the demarcation of boundary lines to avoid conflicts among people.

She also expressed the need to address other socio-economic issues, including trans-border trade, cross-border integration, and adequate security of Nigerians living at the border areas, noting that only then will their livelihoods be improved.

Engr.

Salako-Oyedele made the call at a one-day workshop, organized by the National Boundary Commission in conjunction with the Oyo State Government, themed “Creation of Platform for Local Border Authorities along Nigeria-Benin International Boundary” held in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Her call came barely two weeks after youths suspected to be hired thugs from Oyo state unleashed terror in Bakatari village, a border town between Ogun and Oyo states, destroying property said to belong to Ogun indigenes.

The deputy governor, who is the Chairman of the Ogun State Boundary Commission, charged stakeholders vested with border management to accord boundary issues priority attention in affected states and the country at large.

Engr. Salako-Oyedele noted that though there were government policies that may be of general benefit to the entire country, these policies might be punitive to people in the border communities, adding that a way to balance things out has to be identified and adopted for the general good.

The Deputy Governor while appreciating men and officers of the Nigerian Customs Service and Nigeria Immigration Service for their efforts at safeguarding the nation’s borders, admonished them to put into consideration the homogeneous nature of the border communities in the discharge of their duties.

Salako-Oyedele revealed that the workshop will provide a platform for those present to cross-pollinate ideas in a bid to find a lasting solution to the problem plaguing the border communities within the Nigeria-Benin international boundary.

Also speaking Oyo State Deputy Governor and Chairman Oyo State Boundary Committee, Barr. Abdul-Raheem Lawal noted that the time has come to strengthen security, enhance bilateral relationships, promote collaboration, and have a good business relationship between Nigeria and the Benin Republic.

He noted that Nigeria must shift from demarcation between the Republic of Benin and Nigeria for obvious reasons and focus on how to integrate border communities by addressing their challenges such as infrastructures and other basic amenities. 

In their separate remarks, representatives of the Lagos Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Mr Olufemi Ajayi, Kwara State Deputy Governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, represented by Alhaji Abdullahi Bata, Niger State Deputy Governor, Comrade Yakubu Garba, represented by Mr. Idris Aliyu and Kebbi State Deputy Governor, Sen. Umar Abubakar, represented by Mr. Sadiq Marafa, said that the workshop would enhance the relationship between affected countries which will have an impact on the people living in border towns.

The workshop, they noted further, will enhance and foster greater impetus through investment and business relations, ensure smooth and successful operation of securities in border towns, foster bilateral relationships, ensure security and prosperity of people living in border communities, promote cross-border cooperation, leading to more integrated and good border relation and enhance regional development, while commending the National Boundary Commission for its efforts in creating platforms for local border authorities along Nigeria Benin international boundary.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General, of the National Boundary Commission, Mr. Adamu Adaji, said the workshop was designed to improve trans-border relations between local and international borders, promote development and economic relations, peaceful coexistence among people living in border communities, enhance effective integration border management, help to promote cross border cooperation.

He added that this kind of workshop has been done between Nigeria and Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon, and Nigeria and Chad, to promote peace and tranquillity among border communities.

Executive Secretary, Border Communities Development Agency, Captain Junaid Abdullahi, represented by Alhaji Sodiq Abdullahi Musa in his speech commended the National Boundary Commission for its efforts in creating a platform for local border authorities along the Nigeria-Benin international boundary.

He noted that the development of border areas are key components to national development, hence the need to address the issue of insecurity as well as promote a bilateral relationship between the two countries. 

Contributing, the Comptroller General, of Nigeria Immigration Service, Caroline Wuraola Adepoju, represented by Assistant Comptroller of Immigration, Vitus Onyeka, and his counterpart in Nigerian Custom Service, Bashir Adeniyi, also represented by Hammi Swomen, called for more synergy and understanding between security agencies and people living in border communities

They added that as security agents, they have been trying their best to educate people in border areas, while also appealing to traditional rulers to educate their subjects against smuggling and other nefarious activities in border towns.

Also speaking, the Onimeko of Imeko, HRH, Oba Benjamin Olanite Alabi, and the Emir of Okuta, Kwara State, HRH, Alhaji Abubakar Sero Idris said people living in border areas in the country have been neglected as there is lack of good roads, electricity, amongst others.

They also noted that the colonial government placed more priority on the issue of the border, by providing necessary amenities such as good roads, and other things to ameliorate the suffering of people living in border communities.

The Ogun State Deputy was appointed to Chair the Forum of states that border Nigeria and the Republic of Benin.

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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