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Stakeholders Differ Over Plan to rebuild Jos main Market 

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Stakeholders in Jos-North Local Government Area of Plateau on Wednesday expressed mixed reaction to the move by the state government to rebuild the Jos main market that was burnt down over 20 years ago.

The stakeholders who met separately,  had one of the groups endorsing the decision of government to rebuild the market and the other group was against it.

Newsmen report that state government has agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Jaiz Bank to rebuild the market at the cost of N10 billion.

However, some residents of the state kicked against the move and advised the state government to discontinue the arrangement.

The state government after an interaction with critical stakeholders, directed council chairmen and state lawmakers to consult and seek stakeholders’ opinions at the rural levels on the plan.

The group of stakeholders that endorsed government’s decision to rebuild the market met on Wednesday in Jos, at the instance of Mr Ibrahim Baba-Hassan, the member representing Jos North-North constituency of Plateau.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Bitrus Pada of the Anaguta Community of the council, described  the move to rebuild the market as a ”good omen” for the state.

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Pada, who described the controversies surrounding the plan to rebuild the market as needles, insisting that the market, if reconstructed would boost the economy of the state.

”That we the people of Jos North are wholly and fully in support of the laudable move and efforts of this administration to rebuild the Jos main market as this is the desire and collective aspiration of our people.

”We agree that government’s efforts should be intensified toward the rebuilding of the market as it serves as symbol of unity, source of integration and a place for synergy and meaningful development.

”Rebuilding the market will further enhance and solidify the efforts toward enhancing mutual trust, peace, unity and reintegration of our people, as well as boost the business environment for which Jos is known for.

”The rebuilding of the market will bring sanity, discipline and organisation to the environment, thereby decreasing the indicidence of health hazards, and health insecurity in and around the city and environs,” he said.

Pada also said that his group support the reconstruction of the market in the same location and called on those rejecting the plan to reconsider their position.

He added that the terms contained in the MoU had been clearly and expressly spelled out, adding that the explanations were lucid enough.

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However, the stakeholders at the meeting conveyed by Mrs Esther Dusu,  the member representing Jos North-West constituency, on Monday, kicked against the move.

Her media aide, Mr John Kelly, in statement said that the stakeholders present at the meeting said that the move by government to allow Jaiz Bank to rebuild the market was not in the best interest of the state.

”Stakeholders in the meeting did not only kicked against the move, but also raised the observations like; what parameter did the government used in arriving at the 40-year plan?

”The safety of the current location and why is the government not considering the option of collecting loan instead of the partnership with Jaiz Bank?

”Why is government not considering the submission of the Plateau indigenes in diaspora on taking up the project and other concerns?

”So, in general, stakeholders of Jos North-West kicked against the move and advised government to suspend the plan,” he said.

Chairman of the Council, Mr Shehu Usaman, religious and community leaders, youth and women groups, among others, attended both meetings.(NAN)

NEWS

Gov. Diri Queries Bayelsa Population Figures

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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. 

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NEWS

Flood Kills 23, Displaces 116,000 in Benue- BSEMA

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 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.

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”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)

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Senate Passes Bill to Increase Justices of Court Appeal from 90 to 110

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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.

Chukwuka Utazi(PDP-Enugu)sought to increase the number of Justices of Court of Appeal from 90 to 110 .

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.

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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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