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An overview of 2020 activities of the National Commission for persons with Disabilities

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An overview of 2020 activities of the National Commission for persons with Disabilities

Disability is as old as Mankind. People from time immemorial are born with one form of Disability or another. Due to  ignorance in the olden days, most of these Persons were referred to as Abikus, witches, snakes and all sorts of funny names based on the beliefs or backgrounds of the people with a lot of stigmatization attached to these children with Disabilities and their families which led to high level of discrimination. Some  Persons with Disabilities were killed while others were segregated and neglected on account of these. However, with gradual rise in the level of civilization, the situation has improved hence, “the Dawn of a New Era for the Disability Community” in Nigeria.

The Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, was signed  into law on 23rd, January 2019 after the continuous advocacy by well meaning stakeholders in the Disability Community for the Establishment of  National Commission for Persons with Disabilities.
The commission finally saw the light of day on the 24th of August 2020.
The commission by law is meant to be an umbrella body that enforces the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.
The establishment of the commission under law, for Persons with Disabilities, was termed as” Independence” as the Power and Authority to fight Against discrimination was given to it by the President Muhammad Buhari led administration on the 24th of August, 2020 with the  appointment of  the Executive Secretary, Mr James David Lalu, himself as a Person with Disability, as stated in the Act, section 40 alongside the Chairman, and six Council Members chosen from the six Geo-Political Zones of the country who are all Persons with Disabilities.

The Commission is saddled with the responsibility of Prioritizing, Promoting and Protecting the Rights as well as cater for the needs and welfare of an estimated 28 Million Nigerians with Disabilities in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the Country.

The Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has been assigned the supervising responsibility over the Commission.

Peaceful resolution of JONAPWD crises by the commission

The Executive Secretary, Mr. Lalu, on assumption of office began to put modalities in place to restore peace to the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities (JONAPWD) which was engulfed in crisis for a long time. The crisis was brought to a peaceful end with the assistance of the Supervisory Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk, and other stakeholders.
Hence the leadership tussle that saw to the emergence of two Presidents was brought to an end and the Disability Community accepted Ms Ekaette Judith Umoh as JONAPWD President and  Barr. Yusuf Iyodo as the Consultant/ Technical Adviser.

Administrative  start up

The Executive Secretary, sent out letters to different Government organizations, asking for redeployment of officials to the Commission. The letters were honored and staff were redeployed to the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities amongst whom were six top management staff.

The Executive Secretary, Management and staff began mapping out daily runnings of the Commission awaiting the official innuaguration of the part time council Chairman and members.
Recall that the Executive Secretary and staff had no office spaces and takeoff Grant, so they carried out their duties at a temporary site.
For a smooth take off the Executive Secretary ensured that work did not suffer and this was achieved even without a formal budgetary allocation to the Commission.

Courtesy/ Advocacy visits.

The Management and Staff of the Commission started by visiting some government organizations just as they also received visitors on solidarity visits from some organizations with Mutual interest to foster the growth of the Disability Community through several  consultations, advocacies and interventions.

Budget defence and performance

On the 11th and 12th of November, 2020 respectively, the Commission headed by the Executive Secretary, Director of Finance and Accounts, Head Procurement, Ag. Director, Social Integration among other staff were invited to defend the budget of the commission and also give an overview of the budget performance of the commission since inception.
At the session before the relevant Senate Committees, the Executive Secretary did not only defend the 2021 Budget Proposal of the Commission but also shed more light on the activities and challenges of the Commission. He pointed to the growing cases of Disability being experienced in the country, especially with regards to the Security challenges experienced in the North East where more persons were rendered disabled especially with a situation where over 700 Soldiers were amputated, adding up to the already high number of People with Disabilities in the Country. He called for an increase of the Budgetary allocation for the Commission given its overwhelming responsibilities which according to him is onerous. The Executive Secretary during the Budget Defense at both the lower and upper chambers, won the admiration and applause of the Members who promised their unrelenting support to the Commission to Carter for the development and growth of over 28 million Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria.

Celebration if International Days

The Executive Secretary ensured that all International Days felt the pulse of the Commission, as he brought together different Clusters of Disabled persons to celebrate with the Commission’s support.
At the International Week for the Deaf he was at NTA alongside the British High commission to discuss matters of inclusiveness and way forward.

He also witnessed finals of the international World Polio Survivors Day, which ended with a parasoccer tournament as he performed the opening ceremony with the ceremonial kick of the ball to kickstart the game and he also presented the trophy to Kano State Team , the parasoccer tournament champions 2020.

At the International Day of the White Cane, the executive Secretary was present at the Late Edition, a live TV show on NTA, He was accompanied by  the Chairman, Nigeria Association of the blind, Abuja chapter to discuss on the issue of Accessibility for the Blind.

He also hosted the International Day for Cerebral Palsy against all odds where he highlighted the Challenges of Cerebral Palsy Survivors and called on Nigerians to embrace Cerebral Palsy Survivors assuring them of the Commission’s support all the way.

In preparation to mark the International Day for Persons with Disabilities 2020, which is Celebrated on the 3rd of December every year, the Executive Secretary, set up a working committe to plan and execute the event the first to be organized by the Commission.
The committee was chaired by the JONAPWD President, Ekaette Judith Umoh and Secretary, Mr Lawrence Idemudia, Ag Director, Social Integration National Commission for Persons with Disability, and seven other members.
The Committee swung into action, with a mutual interest to Succeed. Inspite of the challenges, the Executive Secretary encouraged the Community to strive to succeed.
The event was a grand success with the support of other Partners and vendors who were able to render assistance and were later paid.
Persons with Disabilities, for the first time enjoyed their day. It was indeed laudable as the commission  cannot but appreciate all those who stood by it through the year.

Compliance sensitization/media advocacy

The Commission also kicked off its sensitization/Media advocacy in some National Media houses on the relevant provisions of the Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, as sensitization is key to Compliance.
In furtherance to the advocacy/sensitization, the Ag. Director , Enforcement and Compliance, Mr. Ikem Uchegbulam was live on the 4PM Network News of the Nigerian Television Authority (N.T.A) on the 3rd December, 2020 and on the 13th December, 2020 on a live broadcast at 12noon on the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). This is in furtherance of Commission’s determination to work out clear modalities on the sensitization of the citizenry, foe the provisions of the Act to be properly enforced.       

Innauguration of Council members

The 22nd of December, 2020,  remains remarkable in the live of the Disability Community with the official handing over of the mantle of power from the Humanitarian Minister to the Executive Secretary, the chairman, members, management and staff of the Commission to run the affairs of the commission. 
At the event, the Humanitarian Minister applauded the Executive Secretary. The Humanitarian minister Hajiya Sadiya Farouq Umar, indicated that over 28million persons with Disabilities are looking up to them saying they must live up to their mandates in order not to disappoint them.

The President of (JONAPWD ) on behalf of Persons with Disabilities and Nigeria National Association of the Deaf, presented award to the president, as the Grand Commander of Persons with Disabilities and  to the Minister respectively.
They referred to the Minister as Mother of persons with Disabilities.

Official thank you visit to the President by executive Council members

Following the Inuaguration of the Council Members, an appointment letter was issued to the part time Chairman and six Council Members by the SGF, mandating them to resume their official part time duty, the Council Members are expected to meet four times in a year.

On the 8th  of January 2021, the Executive Secretary, Chairman, and Members of Council led by Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq,  visited the President. During the visit, on behalf of the delegation and Nigerians with Disabilities, the Honorable Minister thanked President Mohamadu Buhari for the establishment of the Commission, an opportunity, she said, would enable persons with disabilities to drive themselves to a better Nigeria.

The Occasion also offered the Minister an opportunity to Present on behalf of Nigerians with Disabilities an Award to the President as the Grand Commander of Persons with Disabilities.

The President, while responding thanked the team for their commitment and love. He however, encouraged the Executive Secretary and his Board Members to be above board in discharging their responsibilities as he assured them of his unending support, adding that he is looking forward to commissioning Worthy and credible projects that will change the lives of over 28million Nigerians with Disabilities.
The Executive Secretary, thanked the President for the opportunity on behalf of  Persons with Disabilities for giving them independence.

Now the die is cast, the Mantle of leadership has been given and it is time for the Commission to carry out its assigned mandate.

The Commission urged members of the public to disregard misleading information about the newly established Commission; particularly, falsehood on the Legal composition of its Management and Financial state.

Again, the Management of the Commission used the opportunity to express its gratitude to tge President for this landmark initiative and the Legislature for its support in championing the course of the entire Disability Community.

By Dooshima Pius -Ikerave, Chief Press Secretary Office of the Executive Secretary – NCPWD

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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

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Value chain: Gov Sule launches women multipurpose cooperative society in Wamba

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Nasarawa State governor, Abdullahi Sule, on Tuesday, launched the United Sister’s Multipurpose Cooperative Society, in Wamba central market, a Federal Government and International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), initiative aimed at reducing poverty.

Sule equally commissioned a solar-powered borehole located at Haske Gari Processing Centre, Gbude, also in Wamba Local Government Area.

He explained that both activities, jointly funded by the federal government and IFAD, are aimed at ensuring food security, increase small-scale farmer’s income. Enhance processing and marketing of rice and cassava, as well as promoting accelerated growth on sustainable basis.

According to him, the Value Chain Development Programme, is the initiative of the federal government, geared towards diversifying the economy as an alternative source of revenue.

He added that the programme is intended to focus more attention on agricultural growth with a view to transform the sector as the mainstay of the country’s economy.

The governor disclosed that in its determination to key into the programme, his administration, on July, 1, 2020, approved the whopping sum of N176m as counterpart funds, for the take-off and implementation of the project for the period of two years.

Sule reiterated the resolve of his administration to continue to align with policies of the federal government, in the collective commitment to providing the desired development, adding that it informs the decision by the state government to attract investors like Olam Nig. Limited, Dangote Group, Azman Rice, Flour Mills Nigeria Ltd, among others.

While appreciating the Federal Government and IFAD for choosing Nasarawa State to host the event, the governor disclosed further that similar projects have been completed in Lafia and Nasarawa, while those of Doma and Karu Local Local Government Areas are ongoing.

Earlier, the Programme Coordinator in the state, Dr. Eunice Adgidzi, disclosed that they have completed multi million naira projects across five local government areas, including five solar-powered boreholes, three market stores and two market stores.

She added that two market stores, as well as the cassava model 2 processing mill with crèche and restrooms, are ongoing.

Dr. Adgidzi said a total of 2, 233 farmers from 204 farmers’ organizations, engaged in rice and cassava production, processing and marketing, have been profiled and are benefiting from the project.

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

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HOSTCOM talks tough over 10% equity, says it can resurrect militancy

***List grey areas that must be expunged or ammended in the PIB

Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas (HOSTCOM) have advised the Federal Government against truncating the passage of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) stating that anything short of their demand for 10% equity, may prompt Niger Delta militants to return to the creeks.
The National President of HOSTCOM, High Chief (Dr) Benjamin Style Tamanarebi said every indication points to the fact that the Government is not interested in the passage of the bill because of lack of sincerity.
Tamarabi issued the statement as an executive summary after the joint committee on PIB town hall meetings between tha national Assembly with the Governments of the States, stakeholders and and Host Communities Producing Oil and Gas that took place from 1st to 5th of March, 2021.
He said the Niger Delta militants have been calm because of the high expectation that the HOSTCOM will secure the 10% equity in the PIB to at least atone for the monumental degradation on their environment.He therefore warned that it is in the best interest of all stakeholders that the federal Government stop treating the Niger Delta interest with kids gloves as it may boomerang. 
In the executive summary that was jointly signed by the National President and chairmen of the nine State chapters of the HOSTCOM, they listed the grey areas in the bill that must be expunged or amended.
They therefore reiterated their position to stand by the On-shore Host Communities so defined as Host and directly impacted Communities 50km radius of the Project site which includes pipelines.
They also reiterated in strong terms their unwavering position as submitted at both chambers of the National Assembly, especially the crucial areas as indicated in the various sections of the PIB.
They want a mechanism to be set-up for the obtaining of approvals by the Minister in matters that affect Federation account to include the Producing States and Host Communities as in chapter 1, part 1 which deals with Vesting of Petroleum, ownership as major stakeholders.
They want Part 111. Sections 3,4,5, which said, the Commission shall not undertake both Commercial and regulatory activities at the same time and should not temper with federation account funds such as the proposed 10% of rents on petroleum licences and petroleum mining leases which are usually in dollars to be expunged.
They demanded that the Governing Board be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.”The Governing Board of the Authority should also be expanded to accommodate each of the Producing States and HostCom representatives.
“On Section 47, which deals with Funding of the Authority: they want the proposed 1% to be expunged since the National Assembly appropriates funds to the Authority on a first line charge in addition to four other sources of funds.
They also want the Midstream Gas Infrastructure Fund contained in Section 52 to beexpunged and the Location of the Headquarters (HQ) of theAuthority to be in the major Petroleum Producing States.Part V, section 53, subsection (1) which says the Minister shall within 3months at the commencement of the Act incorporate the limited liability Company, they want ownership of all NNPC Limited share to be vested in the Government of the federation at incorporation and held by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated, HOSTCOM and the Governments of the petroleum Producing States of Oil and Gas for and on behalf of the people as in Section 53, subsection 3.

Subsection 6 & 7, which states that NNPC Limited and any of its subsidiaries shall conduct their affairs on a commercial basis without recourse to government funds and their memorandum and articles of association shall state these restrictions in the Bill.

On section 54, that deals with Transfer of Assets and Liabilities: “Let it be madeclear that NNPC must remain a Government National Company and any sale of shares must be with the approval of the Federal Government, the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom and the National Assembly.
 “The assets NNPC controls belongs to the Federation not the Federal Government alone. Assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC not transferable to NNPC Limited or its subsidiary under sub section (1) of this section, shall remain the assets, interests and liabilities of NNPC until they become extinguished or transferred to the Government.
“The Petroleum Producing States must be given rights to first refusal to acquire the shares since most of the assets NNPC Ltd manages are derived from Petroleum which is produced from the Petroleum producing State.

On section Section 55, that deals with the Appointment of NNPC limited they said, theMinister shall upon incorporation of NNPC Limited, consult withthe Minister of Finance, and the Governments of the Petroleum Producing Oil and Gas States and HOSTCOM to appoint NNPC Limited.

On Section 59 that deals with the Board of NNPC Limited Composition, they want NNPCLimited to be determined by the shareholders of NNPCLimited in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act and the articles of association of NNPCLimited since NNPC Limited is not solely owned by Government.

Continuing they also wantChapter two, Part 11, section 68, Up-streams operationsrelating to Titles and interpretation to be vested in the Federal Government and Governments of the Petroleum Producing States/HostCom.

They want section 68 subsection 3, sections 77(3); 78(2) etc, which provides for 1,500sq kilometres for anyfrontier acreage and limitless period for exploration to be expunged.

They demanded that Section 86, that deals with the Duration and Renewal of leases and licences to be for 5years minimum and 10years maximum.

On environmental Management Plan contained in Section 102 they demanded that the submissionmust include the compliance and implementation to all extant local and global regulations precedent to the commencement to anactivity and so stated in the bill.

Section 103: As a condition for the grant of a licence orlease and prior to the approval of the environmental management plan a licensee or lessee shall pay a prescribed financial contribution to an environmental remediation fund to the Host Communities (HostCom).
Section 104 that deals with Gas Flaring Penalties to be paid to Host Communities they said, now that the date is shifted all flaring fields should be captured, daily flares recorded accordingly by appropriate measuring and gauging instruments and data base provided, including a specific process on how to end the flare on or before 2025.
They want Section 115, that deals with Compensation for acquisition of land relating to the issuance of certificate of occupancy to be be expunged.
Chapter 3, section 234 Host Communities Sustainable Development: in pursuant to this Act there shall be established Host Communities Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (HC-OPADEC) which shall be replicated at the State and localGovernment levels.

Section 235: subsection(1) deals with the word settlor which the demanded should be replaced with the word Operating Company.

Section 4 deals with the appointment of Board of Trustees which they want be by the Communities and for the Communities as recommended.

“Section 240: Deals with the sustainable development trustfund, which shall be 10% equity share holding which is sacrosanct and shall include 25% of the royalty accruing from the oil and gas produced be payable into the account and before production commences an amount equivalent to 10% of the OPEX and CAPEX be also paid into the account.
 
This is the Position of HostCom and also supported by the Governors of the Producing Oil and Gas States. 
Section 242, deals with the Board of trustees, composition, management shall be by the Communities.

They also want Section 257 which deals with penalty against the HostCom for anact of vandalism, sabotage etc to be expunged as HostCom is neither the Chief executive Officer of their locality or the State nor Government security agency.

“We would also like to know about the position of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and Petroleum EqualizationFund since they were very conspicuous on the previous bills.

“All the amended interpretations should also be so stated in the bill.”They demanded that the Headquarters of NNPC Limited, the Commission and Authority be located in the major Producing Oil and Gas States to demonstrate Government’s transparency and evidence to sustainable development.

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

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Tunga community worries over influx of kidnappers/bandits

Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

Tunga community in the Awe local government area of Nasarawa state is worried over influx of suspected kidnappers and bandits recently dislodged from Rutu in the Toto Local government area.

They were said to have been dislodged by command 4 Special Force Doma and are currently occupying Dangote farm land illegally

It would be recalled that recent reports indicated that bulldozer belonging to Dangote Sugar Refinery Company destroyed over 300 houses in Ugber village thereby rendering the Tivs settlement in Awe LGA homeless.

The Auditor of Tunga Development Association, Mr. Nasiru Muhammed-Tunga, who made the disclosure on Thursday in Awe local government area, described them as illegal occupants of Dangote sugar plots of land.

Muhammed-Tunga, said that majority of the occupants of the vast land are strange faces who have dettled in the company after compensations have been paid to the affected persons whose graves, economic trees and structures were confiscated.

He, however, debunked the claims made by some Tiv residents in Awe LGA, lamenting that they were inaccessible as at the time the
company paid compensation.

According to the Auditor of TDA, Tiv and Fulani’s were the first to be considered during the compensation process, noting that every person in Tunga community has been compensated.

He denied claims made by Tivs that over three hundred houses were destroyed by the company without any compensation.

His words: “We just woke up and see clusters of farmstead with unknown faces, this called for alarm with the rising spate of insecurity in the land, again they occupied our land without coming through the
traditional ruler, this is a threat to our existence”.

Speaking on the matter, Gayam Tunga, Mr. Ibrahim Adamu, said the crisis begun during the killing of late Sarkin Azara by Tivs who took refuge in unknown destination and returned to the land when there was compensation to every able settlers.

He, however, said none of those people that were returning were familiar faces, adding that even the graves, economic trees and structures were actually considered.

He added that petitions were written against Hakimi, MeGayam and one other explaining that other part of the reserved land was for the community.

Amos Kyaava in an interview claimed he was not present during the assessment by tge compensation committee as a result of crisis when they
sought refuge outside the state.

He explained that he left in 2017, when the former governor of Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, leased the land to Dangote Sugar Company

Francis Yors from Kukunbi cluster in previous interview said the compensation was just for economic trees and structures excluding plot of land.

Julius Tasha from Orobo cluster confirmed that they were given compensation by Dangote Sugar Company.

Some inhabitants of Tunga who spoke applauded Dangote for the choice of Tunga, noting that the company has brought a lot of prospects to their community.

Investigation by our correspondent, however, indicated that barely six thousand Tunga youth secured employment in Dangote with scores from Awe, the administrative head of Awe local government benefitting  from the benevolence.

Over N200 billion was earmarked for the development of the sugar company.

Narrating the ordeal of the Ugber villagers in the hands of the Dangote Sugar Refinery to NationalUpdate the village head, Mr. Timothy Ti’igh, he claimed that the Dangote firm did not contact them about buying the land, talk less of compensating the inhabitants to demolish their locality.

He said: “We only woke up on Thursday to see Dangote firm with bulldozer in our village pulling down our houses.
We lost a total of 80 bags of rice, 43 bags of surgum, 27 bags of soyabeans, 3,000 tubers of yam and 17 bags of beneseeds in the demolition exercise.”

“The Dangote team also set several basins of our smoked fish, beds and beddings, and other valuables ablaze as you can see. They snatched a bag containing some money and a handset from my son and took it away,” he added.

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