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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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Youth Council applauds Nami On FIRS Reforms, Transparency




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The National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, has described reports criticising the proposed 2022 expenditure of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS) as spurious and mischievous.

National President of the NYCN, Comrade Solomon Adodo, who stated this at a press conference in Abuja, expressed concern over the publication and the alleged “sinister intentions behind it.”

Adodo noted that NYCN will not fold its hands to watch individuals or corporate organisations drag the FIRS and its well-intended programmes, aimed at salvaging the country’s economy, to the mud.

“NYCN can not sit back and watch the national tax administration and the well-intentioned programmes of the FIRS be dragged into the mud, especially if viewed against the backdrop of the fact that the agency mobilises revenue for our Commonwealth, thereby contributing to our national economic development as well as the well-being of ordinary Nigerians generally,” he said.

Recall that a national Daily had in a banner headline christened “FIRS to spend N2.8bn on uniforms, N550m on meals, Board members to earn N370m sitting allowance,” provided detailed analysis of the proposed expenditure of the agency.

The report, which did not go down well with the FIRS in view of the fact that it was only a proposed budget, noted that the tax body budgeted about N550m for refreshments and N200m for sporting activities.

“The FIRS, which is one of the highest revenue generating government bodies, set aside N262.5m for security votes while N17.8bn would be spent on “miscellaneous” expenses,” it said.

According to the youth council, “any discerning mind would see that the said budget estimate is a proposed expenditure that would eventually pass through the eagle eyes of the National Assembly for rigorous scrutiny.”

The council wondered why such a document should suddenly become public controversy as depicted in the report.

“Even though the official response of the FIRS to that publication has put to rest all misconceptions, and addressed the obvious political mischief intended by the vexatious publication, we feel inclined to add our voices to the issue if only to finally nail the coffin.

“The public may wonder along with the media on why the NYCN bothers itself with what is generally believed to be the spurious, concocted and mischievously slanted story about the FIRS’s proposed expenditure as published by the Punch Newspapers and circulated on some social media platforms,” it said.

The youths noted that “It will be a national disservice for a serious-minded and reputable organization like the NYCN to ignore such a pertinent national issue.”

NYCN further expressed worry that an attempt was made by the publication to seek an explanation or clarification from FIRS on the various expenditure sub-headings contained in the document.

“Another issue of concern is the question: why is somebody or a group of persons particularly interested in the expenditure proposal of the FIRS? Your guess may be as good as ours. To us, it is all politics.

“We can understand that it is normal for some people not to like the progress being achieved by the leadership of FIRS. However, our concern and worry are that this whole political buccaneering will put to jeopardy the revenue generation, fund mobilization and tax administration that are germane to the national development.

“Without gainsaying the fact, the business of revenue generation is too serious an economic business that it should not be subjected to the kind of infantile politicking intended by that publication. FIRS is a proactive revenue-generating agency that takes its mandate very seriously.

“We must not forget in a hurry that recently FIRS came down heavily on some notable big tax offenders, and made them pay their outstanding tax liabilities.

“And so, every attempt made by such tax defaulters to intimidate FIRS to make it shirk its patriotic duty was firmly and roundly rebuffed. We know that some people somewhere would wish to continue with their tax crimes. But we say a big NO to that. It is about time that, as Nigerians, we focused on development instead of petty politics,” the youths said.

While commending the good work done by FIRS, the council noted that since the assumption of office by the Chairman of FIRS, Muhammad Nami, on 18 December 2019, he has initiated and implemented several strategic reforms aimed at making tax administration more effective, particularly through expanding the National Tax Net so that more revenue could be generated without raising the percentage of tax paid.

“The determination of the Nami-led FIRS to go after some big and hitherto untouchable tax offenders has continued to gain traction. For example, many businesses that either did not pay taxes or did not pay the correct amount have been made to pay under the very deliberate programme of the Management,” the council said.

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Labour minister says Workforce casualisation will soon be outlawed in Nigeria




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The Minister of Employment, Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige has indicated that casualisation of Labour would soon be outlawed in Nigeria.
He said the Federal Executive Council will soon come up with a policy directive on the actualization of employment in the country. 
Senator Ngige gave the indication on Tuesday in his address at a one day public hearing on the Prohibition of Casualisation in Nigeria Establishment Bill,2021 organised by the Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity headed by Senator Godiya Akwashiki at the National Assembly in Abuja. 
The minister pleaded with the committee to stay action on the Bill to enable the federal government consult with other stakeholders in the labour sector on the bill so that the law that would come out of it will be acceptable to all.
“The Bill is very tricky and we must manage it in such a way that both employers,  workers other stakeholders including the government will buy into it when the bill is eventually passed into law” Ngige said.
The minister also decribed actualization of employment in Nigeria as worrisome while accusing the bank sector,  oil and gas industries and the communication sector as major perpetrators of casualisation of workers in the country. 
He added that no reasonable government will allow the inhumanity to continue in the name of employment. 
Ngige also said that most of the companies that are engaging in casualisation of workers are doing so at high risk.
According to him ” Research have shown that most of the frauds in the banking sector are perpetrated by casualised staff because they believe that their jobs are not secured”
Also  the NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari who was represented by the Group Executive Director, Corporate Services,   Aisha Farida Katagum urged the committee to give the NNPC some time to study and review the bill before taking a position. 
She stressed that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act  (PIA), the NNPC is currently undergoing some reforms which may address the issues raised in the bill.
Katagum also dismissed the fear expressed by the Nigeria Labour Congress that there would be massive sack of workers in NNPC in view of the ongoing reforms in the oil and gas sector. 
“My Group Managing Director (GDM) plays value on workers and the reforms in the oil and gas sector will be carried out with human face” Katagum said. 
Earlier in his submission, the sponsor of the bill, Senator Ayo  Akinyelure from Ondo state said the casualisation of Nigerian graduates in the Nigerian Labour Market has become a subject of  great concern as more workers continue to groan under this immoral strategy of cutting cost by employers rendering them inferior to their counterparts in other countries of the world.
Senator Akinyelure also listed the objectives of the bill to include protecting vulnerable workers against unfair labour practices by way of casualisation,  imposing a legal duty on employers of labour both in private and public sector establishments to convert casual employment to permanent status among others. 
In his closing remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Godiya Akwashiki said all the stakeholders will be given more time to review the bill adding that the committee will later invite them to a public hearing for further legislative action on the bill

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Impending Climate change disaster would be worse than COVID-19 for Africa -Senator Okorocha




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Senator Rochas Okorocha has warned of the impending disaster of climate change that may be worse than that of COVID-19 if Africa fails to address the issue before the limited six years time limit remaining.
There has been apprehension over the increasing devastating effects of Cilmate change that is set to bring the world to its knees in the next six years.

Okorocha who spoke on Saturday evening in Abuja at his Unity House residence.

He insisted that the problem of the degradation of the Ozone layer was created by the developed countries through carbon monoxide emissions into the atmospheric space from diesel powered plants in the time of industrial evolution. Africa is currently at the receiving end for refusing to embrace the green revolution

The IMO senator who was speaking in his capacity as the Leader of Climate Change Advocacy in Africa, a title conferred on him by campaigners of Green Revolution across the world led by Ambassador Jerome Ringo, said the global village is in disaster of Climate Change.
The disaster, according to him if not tamed will be horrendous in Africa and in particular Nigeria where majority of the citizens are battling with poverty, making them to cook with emissive devices like Charcoal, firewood, Kerosene Stoves etc .

“The looming disaster from climate change if not urgently addressed through tree planting and green revolution, will be worse than COVID-19 because having fought nature for centuries and many decades, nature is fighting back now.

“The clock of the disaster already manifesting in one way or the other, is ticking which may take a full blown manifestation in six years time.

“We must stop pollution. We should go green as quick as possible by planting trees, powering all our technologies through Solar energy.

“Many developed countries of the world who created this problem are now insulating their societies from it by doing away with anything carbon emissions and coming up with solar or electricity powered vehicles.

“Unfortunately for us here in Nigeria for example, even the Gas that should be leveraged on is being flared on daily basis not to talk of vehicles powered by Petrol or diesels with attendant emissions or pollution of the atmospheric space.

“The realities on ground now, point at the direction of Africa as epicenter of devastating effects of Climate Change ” ,he said .
The narrative must be changed by both the leaders and the led in the continent to rise against the looming disaster he opined.

“The required platform or voice for that, will surely be provided by Rochas Foundation Green Initiative at an International Conference to be held in Nigeria before the Glassgow Summit in November.” , he stressed.

Earlier in his remarks while conferring the leadership of the advocacy on Senator Rochas Okorocha, Ambassador Jerome Ringo said Africa needs to take its place in global climate decision making .

The choice of Okorocha as leader of the advocacy he said, will provide the needed voice and required actions against effects of Climate Change.
“65% of available agricultural space in the world is in Africa which should be used for the required green revolution through massive tree planting .

“That voice, we believe will be heard very loudly in Glasgow next month during the 27th Summit on way out of the Climate Change “, he said .

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