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FMWH promises to restore normal traffic-flow on Kabba-Omuo-Ekiti road as Rehabilitation work commences

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By Friday Idachaba

The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on Saturday said free flow of traffic on Kabba-Omuo-Ekiti road would soon be restored as rehabilitation work on failed sections of the road has commenced.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that three portions of the road were on Sunday damaged as a result of effects of torrential downpour, causing auto crashes and heavy gridlock on the ever busy highway.

Federal Controller of Works in Kogi Engr Jimoh Kajogbola, disclosed this while monitoring the extent of dilapidation and progress of work on the road at Ikoyi in Iyara, Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi on Saturday.

Kajogbola said that Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) had sent him down to expedite rehabilitation work on the road and ensure restoration of normal traffic flow as soon as possible.

According to him, the Kabba-Omuo-Ekiti road was cut in three places last Sunday, September 5th and the attention of the Ministry was drawn to it.

“We immediately moved in with the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), the Local Government and the local people.

“Our effort is yielding some success as vehicles are now moving though at very slow pace now. The work is aimed at addressing the hardship being faced by motorists as a result of the failed portions of the road.

“We try as much as possible to put in a lot to make it free but there are some interests here working against our efforts.

“The heavy rains and the local people here who are collecting money and removing the boulders to slow down vehicles for them to be able to extort money from Nigerians are frustrating us”, he said.

Kajogbola attributed the heavy traffic on the collapsed Kabba-Omuo-Ekiti road to the failure of the Okene-Ibilo road damaged recently saying that when that one got bad, the traffic was diverted to Kabba-Ayere-Isua road which also failed.

“Now all the traffic going to South-West, part of South-South and part of Kwara are now using this road as you can see. I want to appeal to Nigerians to be patient while moving on this road.

“When we are too much in a hurry, we block the incoming traffic and everything will be gridlocked, nobody will be able to move again”, he said.

The Controller however, appealed to heavy duty vehicle operators to guard against overloading of their trucks to avoid overstretching and help the lifespan of the roads.

“We have problems of excessive loading of vehicles. For a road designed for 30 tons, they are carrying 45, 60, 75 and even 90 tons.

“There is no way the road will not be stretched beyond its elastic limits. Once it is over stretched, it fails and once it fails there’s no other way than to reconstruct it.

“The government is making efforts to check overloading by introducing the weighbridge system but since that one is not yet in place, we should check ourselves.”

Kajogbola also appealed to the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) make available, a standby toying vehicle to quickly remove broken down vehicles causing obstructions on the road while the work lasts.

On the activities of some of the community members, he said, “I have called Hon. Kilani Olumo, member representing Ijumu state constituency at the House of Assembly to help us appeal to his people to leave the place for our workers only.”

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HYPPADEC trains 55 enumerators for needs assessment of flood ravaged Kogi communities

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By Friday Idachaba

The Hydroelectric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPADEC) has concluded a four-day training for 55 enumerators to conduct needs assessment of flood ravaged communities in Kogi State.

Kogi state Team Lead and HYPPADEC’s Director, Finance and Administration, Jimoh Haruna Gabi,
disclosed this at the end of the training on Thursday in Lokoja.

Gabi said the programme was aimed at training the enumerators to collect useful data from riverine communities affected by flood, assess and articulate their needs for deployment of interventions to assuage their pains.

He said that flood and other ecological disasters had affected homes, markets, farmlands, health and educational facilities in many communities in the riverine areas of the state devastating their sources of livelihood.

“Their traditional economic activities are already frustrated”, the Kogi State Team Lead asserted.

He said that it was against this backdrop that the training of enumerators for needs assessment programme was conceived to generate data and ascertain the extent of damage in various communities.

“So, through the data collected, we can know what the communities actually need not what we think they need.

“So, the trained enumerators, on getting back to the communities, will move around and collect data for us to forward to the management which will study and know areas to deploy interventions,” he said.

On the mode adopted for recruitment of the enumerators, the Kogi Team Lead said each of them had a minimum educational qualification of National Diploma and were drawn from the 10 Local Government Areas of the state prone to flooding.

Gabi stressed that the commission was handling the programme in synergy with relevant stakeholders, including traditional rulers, community leaders and the Police, adding that the stakeholders were enjoined to sensitize members of their communities.

Also speaking, Alhaji Isa Ozi-Salami (OFR), HYPPADEC’s Board member representing Kogi, said the training of enumerators was part of strategic plan to proffer solutions to the ecological challenges saying, “it is from planning that we can set realistic targets.

“If we have little resources we deal with the priorities, the preferences and what will touch more people and then we will be appreciated by the people and the government will be commended.

Alhaji Abdulrazaq Isa-Koto, the Ohimege-Igu of Koton-Karfe, while narrating his experience, said, “last week within the town, houses were submerged and it got to the extent that it was only the will of Allah, else the Federal highway would have been submerged too. So, it is that serious.”

Chief John Egwemi, Eje of Ibaji, speaking on the onslaught of the flood in his domain, lamented that his palace was submerged, saying, “Our cry now is because of the magnitude. It comes so early and before you know it, the whole place is flooded and many things are devastated.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that although flooding had become a recurring decimal with the perennial release of water from the dams on Rivers Niger and Benue, it became more devastating in 2012, 2018 and 2020. (NAN)

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Use culture to tackle insecurity Actionaid urges, FG, State Govts

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By Friday Idachaba

ActionAid Nigeria, an international Non-Governmental Organisation, has called on Federal and State Governments to promote culture and use it to tackle insurgency and banditry in the country.

Resilience Prgram Coordinator with ActionAid Nigeria Mr Anicetus Atakpu
made the call while speaking with newsmen on the sideline of a cultural fiesta to mark the 2021 Global Peace Day on Wednesday in Lokoja.

Atakpu said that the theme of the fiesta, “Promoting Harmonious Cohabitation through Culture” was deliberately coined to promote culture above issues of ethnicity and religion that tend to divide Nigerians.

He regretted that the duo of religion and tribe had remained the major centrifugal forces tearing the nation apart and militating against its development and advancement.

“Tribalism has played a very strong role in promoting violence extremism and building conflicts in Nigeria.

“The most recent is the farmers, herders conflict, that has led to so much death. What we are doing today is to bring us back, to finding the solution to the problem itself.

“Culture is one good way of building harmony, and peaceful coexistence. We have been having this peaceful fiesta for the past three years, and we have come to restructure it.

“Rather than just gather youths to play, dance, we need to pass a message with it. We are trying to pass a message that will make people appreciate the oneness in us despite our cultural diversity.

“This year we have launched the cultural peace fiesta demonstrating our cultural diversity and making our youths and our teaming population understand that yes, we have diversity in culture, and our looks but we are still one.

“We can see ourselves as one, before we start thinking that we are Igala, Ebira Okun and Bassa or many more. Culture will play more role in making us one than dividing us,” he said.

Atakpu said that culture had been relegated to the background in the country in spite of the need to promote security, harmony and peaceful cohabitation through it.

“If the government can come up with a new model towards promoting our culture, the issue of kidnapping, insurgency, armed robbery will be a thing is the past,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the the Cultural Peace Fiesta was organised by ActionAid in collaboration with its implementing partners in Kogi, Participation Initiative for Behavioural Change in Development (PIBCID).

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Home-Grown School feeding: FG donates over 490,000 utensils to Primary Pupils in Jigawa

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From Ahmed Rufa’i, Dutse

Th ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management has donated utensils to 490,874 primary school pupils in Jigawa.

Presenting the utensils to the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, the minister, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq, represented by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Alhaji Bashir Alkali said the gesture is part of the Federal Government Home-grown school feeding program.

The minsiter explained that apart from the utensils, Federal Government also provided over 400,000 feeding utensils for the use of primary school pupils across 27 local government in Jigawa.

According to her, the Home-grown School Feeding Program is aimed at boosting the school enrollment, child nutrition, local economic activities across thousands of communities in the country.

Hajiya Sadiya maintained that, the program will also provide job to over 5,267 women who will serve as cooks across 27 local government in the state.

The Minister said, about 2,180 schools benefitted with utensils that consist of plates, cutlery, cooking pots, biscuits and juice in Jigawa.

She said, as part of effort to address gaps in the program, “we have commenced deployment of intervention within the program that will identified gaps including a nationwide enumeration exercise with the objective of verifying the existing data.

The Minister commended Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar for his support which led to the success of the program.

The Jigawa state Governor represented by his deputy, Alhaji Umar Namadi commended the federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari for the gesture, saying it is a real testament of a good future.

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