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NGOs, CSOs in Lokoja kick against draconian bill at the National Assembly

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NGOs, CSOs in Lokoja kick against draconian bill at the National Assembly

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have kicked against a bill presented to regulate their activities describing it as the work of an idle member lacking in ideas that can better the welfare of his own constituents at the National Assembly.
The Organizations that gathered in Lokoja at a one-day sensitisation program yesterday said the member who has failed his people woefully dusted a bill presented in 2011 to get cheap popularity.
They described his labour at presenting a failed bill as a fraud because he photocopied some other persons work that did not see the light of day only for him to append his signature to claim some.cresit.
This is coming against the background that the Member representing Lokoja/Kotokarfe Federal constituency, Honourable Umar Buba Jubril had recently sponsored a bill seeking among other things, a regulatory body for proper supervision, monitoring and coordination of the CSOs and NGOs in the country.
Buba who lamented the high influx of CSOs and NGOs in the country argued that they lack legal framework that supervises their mode of operations and funding.
They unanimously called on the member to immediately discontinue the sponsorship of the bill for the interest of his constituents, that of Kogi and Nigeria at large.
The Executive Secretary of the Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria(CiSHAN), Mr Walter Ugwuocha indicated that the action of Honourable Buba is a direct attempt to stifle the growing democracy and its tenets which among them, permits freedom of association.
Ugwuocha noted that the bill if allowed to see the light of the day, will have adverse effects on the common man as genuine developmental projects previously undertaken by them will be stifled due to excessive control of their budget by the government.
”Every NGOs goes through external auditing from the big four once in a year.Whereas for the past sixteen years, the Federal Ministry of Health for instance, does not have audited account. Why are we not asking questions in this regard? 
”When donors funds are missing, it is always traced back to Federal Government’s coffers and not the CSOs and NGOs. It is therefore an infringement of our Fundamental Human Rights on the part of the lawmaker to seek government’s regulations of our activities when there are other burning national issues”, he stated.
Chairman Kogi network of NGOs Adejoh Mathew Victor said they are very concerned about the bill because it does not in any way add value to the work they are doing as NGOs or as NGOs and as civil society. 
“We are raising our voices in condemnation of this bill because what the bill wants to achieve is uncalled for at this point our development in the country and so we will want to advise the member to drop the bill.
“When you setup a regulatory committee it would regulate people’s ability to voluntarily serve their own country. You are now wanting to acquire access to organizations whose income depend on the of generosity of other individuals.”
He indicated that though the bill is seeking to fight mismanagement, for accountability and transparency.
The chairman said they are transparent enough, with their work plans as they are registered with CAC and also operate accounts based on EFCC regulations.
‘So what other regulations is he asking after?’
The Kogi state coordinator of the Network Against Child Trafficking and Labour, Mr John Amabi who described the action of Honorable Buba as unfortunate said Civil Society Organizations is bedrock of democracy of in any civil nation and attempt to regulate them is an open invitation of draconian rules.
“Civil society is the reason for democracy, without CSOs there is no democracy because when the Military was holding the country at the jugular the United Nations used the instruments of civil Society to knockout the military. 
“Now the beneficiaries of that struggle; politicians are now trying to cage the CSOs and indirectly they are inviting the military to stage a come back.”
Amabi who urged Honourable Buba to sponsor bills that have direct positive effects on his Lokoja/Koton-Karfe constituency and Nigeria at large said Kogi state needs more Federal government presence in terms of facilities as against the bill which he described as “anti-democratic”.
“The only reason Nigeria is enjoying the new found democracy is because the military is afraid of the strength of CSOs and their network in the country and I am saying the Bill is against democracy and not just against the civil society as it appears.”
He appealed to the legislator to withdraw the bill for his good name because when he was having it rough with his party it was the CSOs that rallied round him to get the mandate not for him to go there to sponsor a bill against his benefactors. 

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Omo-Agege grieves over death of 9 persons in Delta communal clashes

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Omo-Agege grieves over death of 9 persons in Delta communal clashes

***Sue’s for peace in Isoko land

The Deputy President of the Senate (DSP), Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has expressed shock and saddenness over the reported killing of 9 persons, including a child, in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
At least nine people were  reported to have been killed in Delta State following a resumption of hostilities between two neighbouring communities involved in a boundary dispute.
The incident happened at a boundary between Oleh and Ozoro communities.
The two communities which are in Isoko South and North local government areas of the state are presently embroiled in renewed hostilities.
Senator Omo-Agege in a statement issued by his special adviser on media Yomi Odunuga said urgent and pragmatic efforts must be made to prevent further bloodletting.
According to him, respected political, traditional, religious, women and youth leaders within and without Isoko need to preach restraint, de-escalate the situation and help to quickly restore genuine peace to the land.

The deputy president of expressed the believe that it is by divine order that Isoko and Urhobo are historical good neighbours with strong filial, marital and lingual affinities.
“Whatever touches Isoko touches Urhobo, and vice versa.”
He is therefore genuinely concerned about the reported killings and bloody violence, and is ready to do whatever that is necessary for peace to reign.
The DSP recognised the all-important duty of the Delta State Government to maintain internal security in the State.

To this end, he chalkenged the Delta State Governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa and his team, to work diligently to ensure that acts that are capable of leading to more bloodshed or violence are responsibly, urgently and sustainably curtailed.

He  therefore appealed to all our people who may be involved in the crisis one way or the other to embrace peace, no matter the provocation. “There is no alternative to peace. Where there are perceived injustices or wrongs, lawful processes should be followed. “Isoko’s unity and progress are on trial and it is the duty of all responsible leaders and stakeholders to ensure these common interests are not sacrificed on the altars of violent reprisals and in-fighting.
“Let all persons involved in this matter cooperate with both the Local and State governments as well as relevant federal authorities to restore and maintain the peace in Isoko.”
Omo-Agege said he is ready to engage with Distinguished Senator James Manager representing Delta South Senatorial District and other leaders on the matter for the overall good of our people.
In the meantime, he has directed his Senior Special Assistant on Security Matters, Col. Melvin Usman (rtd), to immediately liaise with relevant authorities and stakeholders on the de-escalation of the situation.
“This is to enable him (Omo-Agege) to get more informed briefing on the matter and for him to better support peace efforts on the ground.”




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Over 70 communities submerged as River Niger overflows its banks in Kogi

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Over 70 communities submerged as River Niger overflows its banks in Kogi

By Bukola Giwa

No fewer than seventy Kogi communities have been submerged under water as the River Niger overflows it’s bank due to three days of torrentian rainfall during the week.

Consequently, over 50,000 people have been displaced from their houses in different parts of the State.

Residents of some of the communities who spoke in Lokoja, on the sidelines of a stakeholders sensitisation/advocacy meeting on 2020 flood said that the flood had wreaked havoc in the affected areas.

They indicated that the communities had been experiencing massive flooding in the last five days.

The one-day meeting was organised by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in partnership with the Kogi State Emergency Management Agency (KOSEMA).

One of the residents, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, who is also the Desk Officer in charge of ecological and emergency matters in Kogi Local Government Council, said that 66 communities had been submerged by flood in the area.

Abdullahi said that over 50,000 people had been forced to evacuate their houses and were now being accommodated in schools, filling stations and other makeshift buildings.

He said that some of the victims in Edeha and Koton Karfe communities had been sleeping on roads and other open places, co-habiting with mosquitoes and dangerous reptiles.

He said that schools had been closed as they had been converted to temporary camps for the victims, calling for urgent intervention from the State Government and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The desk officer said that the victims had lost their means of livelihood to the flood, as their farms and livestock were also washed away by the rampaging floods.

Similarly, the Chairman of the Flood Committee in Ibaji Local Government Area, Mr Omonu James, said that floods had sacked thousands of residents from their houses in the area.

James said that the problem of the victims were compounded by the area’s terrain as it had no upland for them to relocate to .

Accordingly, he said, all the 26 schools in the council had been converted to camps for the displaced persons but said that the camps lacked basic facilities.

He said that one death, that of 17-year-old Michael Egwuaba, had been recorded since the floods started, but that the number could rise if urgent measures were not put in place to mitigate the effect of the disaster on the people.

In Lokoja metropolis, many residents living along the bank of River Niger and other flood paths have been forced out of their houses by the floods.

The situation is said to be very grim in the suburb communities of Egan, Konami, Buzih, Ebwa, Even, Lagan Budan, and Gbuje where residents had been forced to relocate to the neighbouring Niger State.

They appealed to the government to quickly come to the aid of the displaced persons, especially in the area of provision of water, drugs, blankets and mosquitoe nets for the victims.

Gov. Yahaya Bello who declared open the meeting said that substantial amount of money had been released to purchase drugs, food, water and other relief materials for the victims.

Bello, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Edward Onoja, also directed that 21,000 youths recently engaged under the Federal Government’s public works programme be deployed to help in the rescue operation.

He said that maximum security would be provided for the personnel involved in search-and-rescue operation, promising that more succour would be provided for the victims.

The NEMA Director in charge of training, Mr Mohammed Usman, said that incessant flooding had become a serious threat to the country’s efforts at becoming self sufficient in food production.

Usman said that nine local government areas in Kogi were among the 102 in the country that had been identified as highly probable risk areas for flooding in 2020.

He called on the state government to urgently take preventive and mitigative measures to reduce the impact of the flood on people and the economy of the state.

He said that NEMA would also, in line with the Federal Government’s directive, assist the victims to find their feet and go back to farms as soon as possible.

Stakeholders at the meeting, including, the Red Cross, Navy, Civil Defence, Police, NIMET, fire services and the media all expressed their readiness to make their services available to the government.

The Navy, marine police, civil defence, Red Cross and the fire services assured that they had enough men and equipment on ground to confront the disaster.

Mr Julius Mejayan, Executive Secretary, KOSEMA, said that highlands had been identified and camps established across the nine local government areas prone to the disaster.

He listed the council areas as Bassa, Lokoja, Kogi, Omala, Idah, Ibaji, Dekina, Ofu and Igala-mela, warning that residents must be ready to move at any time from now.

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More than 200 households square up for battle with CBN over clinic conversion to COVID-19 center plans 

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More than 200 households square up for battle with CBN over clinic conversion to COVID-19 center plans

Apparently piqued by what they referred to as insensitivity on the part of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over plans to convert its clinic to a Covid 19 treatment centre, more than 200 households in a CBN estate in Abuja have vowed to square up for battle with the Apex Bank.
As parents and owners of homes in the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) estate in Garki II of the Federal Capital Teritory, Abuja, they are worried for their families about the trauma such an action would bring to bear on them.
More so, that the CBN sold the homes in its former Estate to the new owners 14 years ago.


The residents are saying the Apex Bank no longer own the estate solely hence it has no power to unilaterally take such decision without recourse to the other stakeholders, since it ceased to be the sole owner of the estate after it sold homes to former occupiers.
They therefore sent a protest letter to the Bank management stating that,
“Our attention has been drawn to the recent decision of the Management of the Central Bank of Nigeria, to convert their old clinic building located at the CBN I & J Estate one Garki II, Abuja to a center for the treatment of Covid-l9 patients.

“We, the Residents of the Estate are hereby constrained to write to the Management of the Bank to draw your attention to the following facts and express our displeasure over such plan as it shows total disregard to humanity.
“CBN is not the sole owner of the Estate by virtue of the sale of the Estate to occupiers in 2006 in line with the approved guidelines issued by the Federal Government in respect of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT.
“By the said sale, the Bank ceases to be the sole owner of the Estate and therefore cannot take any unilateral decision that will affect all patties.”

The residents have also sent letters of protests to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Federal Capital Territory Department for Development Control, seeking to stop the conversion of a clinic to a Covid-19 centre.
The Residents’ Association vowed to go to any length with the bank, starting with the courts, if the “unpopular and arbitrary” decision to convert the CBN Clinic in the Estate to a Covid-19 Isolation Centre is not reversed
According to the association, in a statement, “The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN has planned to convert its clinic inside the estate in Garki 2 as covid treatment centre. The Clinic Doctor and CBN Management staff had met officials of the estate association to brief them of the proposed plan but the residents are vociferous in their resistance.

The association is at a loss as to why the clinic inside an estate where more than 200 families live should be converted to treatment centre saying the risk can only be imagined.

“If executed the estate will have only one entrance instead of the normal two as expected by law. The association intend to approach the court should CBN insist on converting the estate into covid treatment centre.”

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