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Rivers Govt As Host For NDDC’s Project HOPE



By Ifeatu Agbu

As hosts to the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the Rivers State Government has once again shown that it is accommodating and understanding by providing the necessary platforms for the development of the Niger Delta region.

On September 7, 2023, when the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Engr. Abubakar Momoh, visited the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, at the Government House, in the company of the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku, the governor assured the Minister that his government was open to partnership.

He said: “If the NDDC is committed, we are ready to partner with them on the Borikiri-Okrika Road because it will complete the Port Harcourt Ring Road which we flagged off recently.”

The Okrika-Borokiri Bridge project in Okrika Local Government Area, which the governor referred to, had just been visited by the Minister and the NDDC boss. During the inspection, Ogbuku observed that it would provide a lot of benefits to the people, as it would connect several communities to the Rivers State capital.

He said that when completed, the road would reduce traffic congestion on the refinery axis of the East-West Road as well as reduce travel time from Okrika to Port Harcourt.

The Rivers State government is consolidating that collaboration in the interest of the people of Nigeria’s oil-rich region. The latest of this show of camaraderie came to the fore on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, when it threw the doors of the Rivers State Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Department open to the NDDC for the training of youths under the Holistic Opportunity Projects of Engagement, HOPE, project.

It was a profound gesture of friendship and love for the development and empowerment of the youths of the state and the Niger Delta region at large.

That pragmatic act of goodwill underlines the state’s deep commitment to the prosperity of the Niger Delta, by equipping the youths with needed skills in a world driven by technology.

To augment this collaboration and uphold the partnership, the NDDC pledged to revamp the ICT Centre to ensure that the facility is not just available but in top shape, ready to accommodate the anticipated vast number of participants in the Commission’s ICT hub and job creation initiative.

After inspecting the ICT facility in Port Harcourt, the NDDC Managing Director, was full of praises for the Rivers State Government for supporting the Commission in its quest to foster sustainable development in the Niger Delta.

Ogbuku thanked the Rivers State Governor for approving the use of the ICT center for the training of youths, pledging to upgrade the facility. He assured that the NDDC would replicate the training centre in all nine states of the Niger Delta region.

He said: “One of our core visions is to make the Niger Delta a technology hub. This facility is going to complement such efforts. If we empower our youths in technology, it will further strengthen sustainable development. Tech is one of the core areas of Project HOPE, alongside agriculture, because it helps in job creation. The government cannot create jobs for everyone.”

He noted: “What we are experiencing today is the dawn of reality. We have gone beyond planning and we are now collaborating with the states, as key stakeholders, to bring Project HOPE to reality. We believe that this process is sustainable.”

Ogbuku, who was taken around the training facility by the Director of Rivers State ICT Centre, Mrs. Aleruchi Akani, pledged that the NDDC would ensure that the centre worked optimally.

He stated: “We believe that the projects under the Project HOPE are more holistic and sustainable. What we are doing here is partnering with the Rivers State Government to ensure that this ICT Centre is put into proper use. This Centre will be used optimally because through Project HOPE, we are looking at making the Niger Delta region a technology hub. Under Project HOPE, we are focusing on technology and agriculture.”

In the spirit of partnership, the Commissioner for Youth Development, Dr. Chisom Wali commended the NDDC for taking the initiative to partner with the Rivers State Government noting that the efforts of the Commission bode well for the future of youths in the Niger Delta region.

The journey to a brighter future started on July 12, with the flag off of the youth development and empowerment scheme designed to create a comprehensive resources database of the youth population of the Niger Delta region at the NDDC headquarters.

On that occasion, Ogbuku declared: “Today marks a new dawn in the NDDC because we are kicking off project HOPE to touch the lives of youths in the Niger Delta. It is holistic because it will be all-encompassing and sustainable.

“We encourage every youth in the Niger Delta to take advantage of this programme and register through the database because this is a new approach that conforms with the present-day realities. Every Niger Deltan, entrepreneur, man, and woman are encouraged to register and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Ogbuku explained that Project HOPE was a response to the recent interactive forum with the youths of the region, where they discussed their needs, measures, and recommendations to address them.

According to Ogbuku, HOPE will develop an exhaustive digital repository comprising vital information about the youths of the Niger Delta region, including their qualifications, skills, interests, needs, and current employment status. He said that this database will serve as a plank for data-driven planning, enabling the formulation of impactful policies and programmes targeted at the youth.

The NDDC boss said that once the youths are registered on the database, the platform would enable the commission to know their interests and needs. He said knowing the preferences of the youths would enable the Commission to streamline its empowerment programmes to suit their needs.

“To this end, we will no longer go about nominating people to benefit from our training programmes as we will only pick from the database.

“For example, if we want to train welders, then we will go to the database to pick those whose interests are welding. So, nobody needs to know anybody to benefit.

“The database will eliminate political interest in the area of nominations while giving every youth equal opportunity to obtain support from the NDDC and government.

“Also, this programme will help eliminate the past practice of youths benefitting from our programmes multiple times. But now, once you’ve been engaged, it will be recorded in our database,” he added.

“From this Project Hope, we are going to ensure that lots of jobs are created because we are looking at creating about 10,000 jobs with 1,000 per state minimum. We are going back to go into agro-allied investments where we are going to engage our youths.

Ogbuku said: “Over the years what has been happening is that because of political interests, people are given slots to nominate participants for empowerment programmes and most of these participants never had passion for these training programmes.

“After the training programmes, you see people selling off the starter packs and other equipment that were given to them after the training.

“In this case, we believe that once we pick you from the data based on your area of interest and passion, you are going to excel from there. And since you are in our database, we will also have our monitoring process in the database to be monitoring.”

The resource person for Project HOPE, Blessing Fubara, said the time had come for a serious development model to kick off in the Niger Delta region, noting that the database would provide the parameters for employment generation, youth empowerment and capacity development in the Niger Delta.

He said that so far, over 110,000 youths have registered since the commencement of theprograme in August.


Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States



The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”


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Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life



Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks



The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

  • Source: Independent


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