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SOUTH UPDATE

World Food Day: Over 30 per cent farmland in Niger Delta lost to floods – Uduaghan

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The immediate past governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has disclosed that over 30 per cent of farmland in the Niger Delta region has been lost to this year’s ravaging flood.

Uduaghan, a senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the Delta South Senatorial District in the 2019 general elections, noted that the development posed a great threat to the nation’s food sufficiency drive.

In a statement to commemorate the 2018 World Food Day on Tuesday, the former governor lamented that this year’s flooding had led to premature harvesting and destruction of farmland including fish ponds in the country, particularly in the oil-rich region.

He said the situation would not only result in great losses to farmers but also negatively affect the already improving food self-sufficiency drive of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.

Uduaghan, therefore, called on the governments, corporate bodies and individuals to render assistance in order to alleviate the plight of farmers caught in the web of the natural disaster.

“Over 30 per cent of our farmlands have been overtaken by the floods, including fish ponds.

“As shown on AIT on Monday, some of the farmers have had to hurriedly harvest the immature farm produce, and are selling them at less than 40 per cent of their market value.

“Their future seems to be hopeless. As we mark the day, let us remember the losses and sufferings of these our farmers.

“Whatever we can do individually, as organised groups, or as a government will go a long way in alleviating their plight,”. He said.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Labour minister, Festus Keyamo flags-off special public works programme in Edo

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Labour minister, Festus Keyamo flags-off special public works programme in Edo

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, FCIArb (UK) on Tuesday, February 25th flagged off the Edo State segment of the federal government’s Special Public Works programme aimed at providing transient jobs for more than 40,000 unemployed youths in every State including women across the nation.

The President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration recently devised the Special Public Works-SPW project as a relief for the unemployed in every State of the federation.

The Special Public Works is one of the projects coordinated by the National Directorate of Employment-NDE, an agency under the supervision of the honourable Minister of State, Festus Keyamo SAN.

In its first phase, the agency is expected to cover 8 States of the federation drawn from all the geopolitical zones before taking off for the next phase of the project.

Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki was a host of honour at the commissioning of the SPW pilot flagged off by the Honourable Minister, Festus Keyamo SAN and the Director General of NDE, Dr. Nasir Ladan Argungu and other dignitaries.

The SPW project, a presidency’s pilot special public works initiative will empower 40,000 citizens drawn from 5 local government of each states by providing transient jobs for women and youths.

The beneficiaries will be engaged for a period of 90 days to perform various public works in their communities. Also, micro loans were given to over 1000 business women to enhance their productivity.

See photos below:

Labour minister, Festus Keyamo flags-off special public works programme in Edo

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SOUTH UPDATE

SAM OGRIH: Magistrate adjourns case against two Delta journalists over ‘unpreparedness’ of claimant

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…Fixes March, 2, For Full Trial

The Presiding Magistrate, magistrate court 5, Asaba, Delta state capital, B.N. Anumadu, on Monday adjourned to March, 2, 2020, the hearing of the defamatory charges brought against the Managing Editor of BIGPEN Online newspaper, Joe Ogbodu, and investigative journalist in Delta State, Prince Amour Udemude.

At the resume of the case, a lawyer who introduced himself as M.A. Omakor, told the trail magistrate, that he was watching brief for the claimant, Sam Ogrih, announcing that he has written to the state Attorney General and commissioner for justice for a ‘fiat’ to formally take over the matter from the state criminal investigation department, (CID), Delta state police command that is currently prosecuting the two Journalist’s.

According to Omakor, “The letter I wrote to the state Attorney General for a ‘fiat’ for me to formally take over the matter, has been responded to but the problem now is that the replied letter is not eligible, the words are not clear to read and as a result we have written another to the state Attorney General, but he has asked why should he issue me another letter when he has already issued me one.

“Your lordship, for this reason, I am applying for an adjournment, to enable me reach out to the state Attorney General concerning the ‘fiat’, and I want to take March, 2, 2020, to enable me do all I needed to do and when we come back there won’t be any reason for any excuse my lordship.”

In his submission, lead counsel to the two Journalists, C.F. Ebu, argued that it is very obvious that both the police and the claimant were not ready for the case and urged the trial Magistrate, to struck out the case.

“Your Lordship, it is very clear that they are not ready for the case. My clients were first arraigned in this court, October, 24, 2019, and this is January 2020 and nothing has been done my Lord. You will see that my learned friend is only playing gimmicks. They are not prepared to go with this case, my lord my application before this court is that the case be struck out my lord.”

At this point, the lead counsel to the two Journalists, sought leave of court for the claimant’s counsel to drop a copy of the response to his letter from the state Attorney General for the court to see whether actually a response letter from the state Attorney General that was probably typed on a computer cannot be visible to read.

But, this request, the claimant’s counsel turned down and appealed to the Magistrate to accept his proposed adjourned date with a promise to tidy up everything before the next adjournment date.

After listening to both counsels, the Presiding Magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, told the claimant’s counsel to his house in order, saying any further excuse from him on the next adjourned date will not be accepted by her court and therefore adjourned the case till March, 2, 2020.

Our correspondent reports that, since the two Journalists were first arraigned in October, 24, 2019, the police prosecutor, has failed to come to court for all the adjourned dates, an indication that the police may have lost interest to the case which may have also forced the claimant to hire the services of a lawyer to take over the case.

It was reliably gathered that, the police could not lay hands on any evidence to nail the two Journalists and as the police have maintained that he who claimed to have been defamed must prove his or her case beyond reasonable doubt because a case of defamation is not that easy to prove.

It would be recalled that, October, 24, 2019, the two Journalists were arraigned by the Delta state police command, following a petition by one Sam Ogrih, that he was defamed in a story alleging him funding and sponsoring some armed Uzere community youth with the codename “Freedom Fighters” who unleashed mayhem on the community over N20 million oil largesse gifted the community by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).

According to the report, some community sources who fled the town at the wake of the mayhem caused by the armed community “freedom fighters”, had alleged that Ogrih, was the one funding and sponsoring the armed youth terrorising the area with guns, battle axe and cutlasses.

Ogrih had denied any involvement in the alleged funding and sponsoring of the armed youth unleashing mayhem in the community.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Okun Development Association disowns group

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Okun Development Association President

The national executive of Okun Development Association (ODA) has distanced itself from a group named Okun Development Association, South West Branch.

The National Executive of ODA, the umbrella body representing the Yoruba people of Kogi State, rose from its quarterly meeting of 18th January 2020 held in Isanlu, Yagba East LG, with some far reaching decisions.

In a communiqué released in Kogi State after the meeting, and signed by the National President, Barrister Femi Mokikan, the National Secretary, Pst Ayo Abereoran and the National Legal Adviser, Barrister Abimbola, the association stated that:

1) Legal, civil and criminal actions will be taken against anybody or group of persons parading themselves as representing the Association at National or Branch levels in any manner outside the provisions of the constitution of the Association.
2) No organisation or individuals shall henceforth undertake any event or function, for commercial or non commercial purposes, using the Okun name without the written approval of the National Executive Committee of ODA.
3) That the security situation in Okunland is still of serious concern. We commend the efforts of the State Government, other security agencies in the State, our Hunters and individuals who have collaborated with us in addressing the challenges we are often confronted with.
4) To further enhance the effectiveness of our efforts, we believe the time has come for us to set up our own Okun Security Trust Fund (OSTF). Towards this end, a committee is working on the details and other modalities and the outcome will be announced as soon as their report is approved.
5) We received with excitement the creation of the AMOTEKUN Security outfit at inter governmental level to address the security challenges of the SW States. This provides us in ODA an opportunity to explore the possibility of raising our security collaboration with the SW Yorubas to another level. We shall not relent.
6) As part of possible measures to reduce unemployment, we appeal to Okun Sons and Daughters with means and the entrepreneurial profile to come home and establish businesses with potentials to absorb people into paid employment.
7) The presence of a Community Radio is a powerful means of social and cultural reengineering in any community. The ODA will explore every opportunity/possibility, through appropriate individuals, to ensure that Okun Radio becomes a reality.
8) To further give teeth to the ODA, the Okun Council of Elders is to be reconstituted within the shortest possible time. We, on behalf of all Okun people thank our fathers and mothers who have served meritoriously on the Council
9) We appeal to our politicians to stop meddling with the affairs of the National Association of Okun Students so as to permanently put an end to the divisive tendencies that continue to plague the body. What we need is unity at all levels.
10) That the Miss Okun Pageant is a proprietary asset of the Okun people. Therefore the process of selecting the successful candidate to wear the Miss Okun Crown will henceforth be under the umbrella of ODA. This is without prejudice to any groups or individuals that may wish to initiate, organize and own their own beauty pageants, provided the word Okun is not reflected in the appellation of such pageant
11) Meanwhile, ODA has announced that election will be held into various offices of the Lagos branch of the association before the end of February 2020.
The Executive offices to be filled shall be contested by individuals from Ijumu Local Government, Yagba West Local Government, Mopa Amuro Local Government, Yagba East Local Government, Oworo/Lokoja Local Government and Kabba/Bunu Local Government.
12) Ijumu Local Government will produce the Chairman of the Branch, while the Vice-Chairman will be produced by Oworo in Lokoja Local Government, the office of the Secretary has been zoned to Yagba West, while the Financial Secretary will be produced by Mopa Amuro. The post of Public Relation Officer (PRO) and Treasurer will come from Yagba East and Kabba/Bunu Local Government respectively.

Speaking further on the Communique, the National President, Barrister Femi Mokikan, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently rebuild all the federal roads in Okunland that are in a deplorable condition. The association President said most Okun communities are now “landlocked”.

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