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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerian Government, Stakeholders Brainstorm To Avoid Perennial Flooding In Abuja.

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The federal government and prominent stakeholders have devised strategies to raise awareness of the Federal Capital Territory’s (FCT) perennial erosion and flooding problems, particularly in the Trademore Estate in Lugbe.

At the Stakeholders Meeting on Annual Flooding at Lugbe Trademore Estate and Environs held in Abuja on Tuesday, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mahmud Kambari, tasked stakeholders to brainstorm and provide potential solutions to prevent annual erosion and flooding in the capital.

The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director Special Duties in his office, Mrs, Adelopo Oluwatoyin, reiterated the importance of the meeting considering the incessant flooding along River Pyakasa during annual rainy season and its devastating impact on Trademore Estate and its Envrions.

Kambari noted that, “The annual flood event along this river has been occurring since 2019, which has cost the nation huge loss of lives and property of citizens. The event is attributed to, among other things, climate change through unusual downpour, urbanisation through population and infrastructure growth, undersized hydraulic structures, and siltation of hydraulic structures and the Pyakasa River.

The flooding, according the the Permanent Secretary, has affected the economy of Federal Capital Territory and Nigeria at large with devastating effect on livelihood and the ecosystem.

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He decried the loss of market that was flooded in Goza community and farmlands at Kuje community, noting that the situation if not addressed could be worsen in different parts of FCT due to rate of population growth and its impact of water waves.

He said the ministry deem it fit to gather all relevant stakeholders together in the meeting in order to exchange ideas that will make FCT safe from flooding, and encourages sustainable development.

He asserted Government’s Commitment to safety of lives and properties in the estate and Nigeria at large. “I remind you of the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Renewed Hope Agenda towards ensuring a sustainable quality environment devoid of annual havocs occasion by flood, the administration recognises the need to urgently provide steps to assuage the problem and its attendance hardship in the FCT. It is this commitment that necessitated the organisation of the stakeholders meeting.”

Kambari however urged stakeholders to share ideas and show the New Zeal towards addressing the flood challenges along Pyakasa River.

Earlier, in his welcome address, the Director of the Ministry’s Erosion, Flood, and Coastal Zone Management Department, Mr Dilichukwu Etigbue, stated that the flooding in Trademore Estate has caused massive economic losses to the FCT and the nation.

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He noted that the workshop with the stakehokders is at the instance of his department to take proactive steps to avert the reoccurrence through proper handling of waste and adhering to FG directives and advise on flood warning signals and flood management to help address some of the challenges.

Etigbue said flooding along Pyakasa River has become an annual event with Trademore Estate been its major flash point.

Speaking further he said, as you all are aware, the Department of Erosion, flood and Coastal Zone Management had it’s statutory responsibility of formulating environmental policies, measures that are relevant to solve erosion and flood control management through out the country and this meeting is to enable us have a robust deliberation on ways to avert this annual disaster.

He pointed out that the Ministry has documented the root causes of the erosion which would be shown during the technical session for inputs and way forward for a safer Trademore and other areas affected by flood.

In the same vein, the Deputy Director Environmental Services, Division of Safe the Town Development Department, FCDA, Mr. Lateef Olawuwo called on the general public to support the government policy as this will help in addressing erosion control.

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Olawumo disclosed that supporting the FG policy is very crucial as most of the problems we are talking about can be tackled if we adhere to building plan, not tempering with green areas as well as living just and fair without building on flood plains and blocking the drainage.

“If you love our environments, you love yourself because your environment is you, if you treat the environment in a negative way the impacts are the consequences coming back to us. The message we have for everybody here that we should please support the policy that will help everybody so that at the end of the day, we will have the focus to glorify.” He added.

He also pointed out that there should be more enforcement of these policies if we have to enjoy the Environment we all crave for.

“The message we have majorly is support from all stakeholders, the developers, the residents, and all sorts of people so that at the end of the day everybody will be happy.” He concluded.

The representative of Trade More Estate, Mr Abdul Abubakar in his remark, appealed to the government to quickly swing into action to come up with solutions to address the menace.

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Abubakar noted that if urgent measures are not taken the flooding issue will still occur.

“So now that we are expecting rain again, definitely all the residents in Trademore are already scared of the outcome, so this is an opportunity for us to really say our minds on this, Trademore itself is not where the problem lies, but because of where it is located,” he said.

NATIONAL NEWS

ActionAid Urges IMF, World Bank To End Colonial Rule

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World Bank Boss

An international organisation, ActionAid has said that the time is up for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to stop perpetuating colonial rule on the world.

The call was made at the weekend as the two global financial institutions concluded their Spring meetings in Washington DC this week.

ActionAid, in the statement said for the last 80 years the IMF and World Bank have been in existence, not much has changed as global South countries have been pushed further into debt and are reeling from the impacts of IMF-imposed austerity measures.

In its 2023 report Fifty Years of Failure, ActionAid found that despite following the IMF’s advice for decades, many African countries are in debt distress or facing a high risk of debt distress. Austerity measures have blocked the recruitment of teachers, doctors and nurses, even in countries with severe shortages, and has squeezed public sector salaries at a time of a rising cost of living.

Global Lead on Economic Justice and Public Services at ActionAid International, Roos Saalbrink, said:“Countries in the global South have since the structural adjustment progammes been in perpetual austerity, eroding public health and education. At a time of unprecedented climate crisis and debt crisis in the global South, the Bretton Woods Institutions continue to oil the wheels of colonial exploitation and extraction. At the same time global South governments have very little say in the policies coming from these institutions at the centre of the international financial architecture. 80 years is enough.”

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The statement said ActionAid is also concerned about a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ which has ensured that the IMF managing director has for 80 years been European and the World Bank president a US national.

Country Director of ActionAid USA, Niranjali Amerasinghe, said: “Kristalina Georgieva’s appointment is a continuation of the colonial era ‘gentleman’s agreement’, where rich western powers have the most say. It is unacceptable that 80 years later we are still having to call this out. The IMF must change its leadership selection process, its decision-making model, and the harmful practices that keep developing countries in a cycle of crisis.

“As the climate crisis wreaks havoc, global South countries are so deep in debt that they cannot adapt to these impacts. We are calling for debt cancellation and tax justice to help these countries free up the finances needed to build resilience to climate impacts.

“We need to see an overhaul of the international financial architecture with a proper debt workout mechanism, a UN tax convention, to ensure global South governments have a say over policies impacting them disproportionately.”

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries, the organisation wants to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Organ Harvesting: National Assembly Orders CEO Of Alliance Hospital, Others To Face The Court

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions has ordered the defendants to return to court and defend themselves in the ongoing organ harvesting case filed by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) against Alliance Hospital CEO Dr. Christopher Otabor and three others.

In the suit Federal Government of Nigeria vs Alliance Hospital & Services, NAPTIP had arraigned Dr. Christopher Otabor, 51, and three others before a High Court of the FCT sitting in Zuba, presided over by Hon. Justice Ogbonnaya, on March 18, 2024, for alleged organ (kidney) harvest.

He is joined by Emmanuel Olorunlaye, a 36-year-old male, Chikaodili Ugochukwu, a 37-year-old female, and Dr. Aremu Abayomi, a 43-year-old man.

Currently on court bail the defendants have been ordered to report to NAPTIP Headquarters in Abuja daily and surrender their travel documents to the court.

Their arraignment came after months of thorough investigation, during which a prima facie case was established against them, implicating them in varying degrees of culpability for organ harvesting offences, as stipulated by Section 20 of the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act of 2015.

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The aggrieved medical doctor, Christopher Otabor, petitioned the House Committee on Public Petitions for Redress in the National Assembly, challenging the agency’s detention of him during the investigation.

As part of its legislative duties, the Committee invited NAPTIP’s management to appear before it last Thursday.

Mr. Hassan Tahir, Director of NAPTIP’s Legal and Prosecution Department, informed the Committee in his brief submission that the matter was sub judice because the case was already pending before a court of competent jurisdiction, and all of the defendants, including the petitioner, had already entered a plea, with the trial scheduled to begin on May 6th, 2024.

In his decision, the Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Mike Etaba, directed the complainant to return to court and face the charges against him, ultimately dismissing the petition.

According to NAPTIP’s Communication Officer, Vincent Adekoye, this decision “reinforces the commitment to due process and legal proceedings in dealing with serious allegations like organ harvesting.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

NDDC Set To Inaugurate Completed 25.7 kilometre Ogbia-Nembe Road

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The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has stated that it is ready to inaugurate the completed 25.7-kilometer Ogbia-Nembe Road in Bayelsa State, which was built in collaboration with Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC.

During an inspection tour of the road, which includes seven bridges, 53 culverts, and spurs to 14 communities, NDDC Executive Director, Projects, Sir Victor Antai, revealed that the Commission had begun discussions with the main contractor, SETRACO, to make minor repairs to the road in preparation for the commissioning ceremony.

Antai, who was accompanied by NDDC directors and engineers, stated that the project was not only a flagship of intervention in the Niger Delta, but also a model of development collaboration between the Commission and International Oil Companies (IOCs) in the area.

According to a statement issued on Friday by Pius Ughakpoteni, Director Corporate Affairs, the Executive Director stated that the current NDDC Board and Management will not relent in ensuring the completion and commissioning of legacy projects designed to transform the entire Niger Delta region.

 

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He stated, “The Ogbia-Nembe Road demonstrates the importance we place on high-quality job performance. This is the standard we will maintain for all our road projects. Going forward, we want to extend this to all our projects.

“The Ogbia-Nembe Road was an excellent example of what can be accomplished when development agencies, businesses, and state governments work together. It is a clarion call to all our development partners.”

The NDDC Director, Environmental Protection and Control, Engr Onuoha Obeka noted that the road, which cut through swampy terrain, encountered many challenges.

“We are happy that in spite of the challenges, the project connecting about 14 communities in the Ogbia-Nembe axis of Bayelsa State, has been completed. These communities were hitherto, not accessible by road.

“This is the first connection between them and the upland and it will boost the socio-economic fortunes of the people.”

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Obeka said that the project was an opportunity for the NDDC engineering crew to improve their skills.

He remarked, “The challenges we faced here were unique: building a road in a mangrove swamp.” You will notice that both sides of the road are filled with water. The road was actually built on a sand embankment of 2.5 million cubic metres of sand.”

“To conquer the swampy terrain, the construction involved digging out four metres of clay soil and filling it with sand to form a road base.

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