Akwa Ibom Govt. Partners General Electric To Build Power Training Institute

The Foreign Direct Investment drive of Akwa Ibom State Government, has received a quantum leap as the state government has concluded plans to partner with General Electric Global Operations, for the establishment of a world class training institute to address man power need and boost capacity of Akwa Ibom indigenes in the power sector.

The Executive Director, Government Affairs, General Electric Global Operations – West Africa, Dr. Joyce Shyngle-Wigwe, dropped the hint during an interaction with Government House correspondents shortly after a meeting with Akwa Ibom state Governor, Udom Emmanuel, at his office.

Dr. Wigwe said, “General Electric has watched with keen interest the pace of development in the state as regards infrastructure under the watch of a seasoned entrepreneur governor Udom Emmanuel, and the company has decided to partner with the state in the provision of electricity, health care services and in other development programmes of the administration”.

She explained that, “The company had been involved with the installation of turbines at Ibom Power Plant and has undertaken the rehabilitation of power infrastructure to facilitate speedy transmission and distribution of electricity in the state”.

The Chairman of Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, who facilitated the meeting described the interaction as fruitful, explained that Akwa Ibom Governor has given approval for the state government to collaborate with the firm to boost power generation at Ibom Power Company.

“The collaboration would make the state a Power hub and the first phase of electricity generation would be at 240 Mega Watts while the second 240 would provide a total output of 480 Mega Watt for sufficient power generation”.

Engr. Inyang indicated that the Governor has directed the company to work out a functional modality to actualise the vision and expressed delight at the company’s decision to establish a training Centre in the state.

Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Works, Mr Ephraim Inyang, who also spoke said the company would help fast track the development matrix of the state’s administration.

The Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Ahmed Zakari, who congratulated Governor Emmanuel and his Executives on the development strides witnessed in the state, hinted that, “The state’s vision on infrastructure and industralisation informed their decision to partner in the development agenda of the state’s administration”.

“The partnership would boost the power sector to enable small and medium scale business operators carry out their businesses and provide employment to the youths of the state”.

Construction Commences At Akwa Ibom Intl. Market

Gov. Emmanuel Visits Akwa-Ibom PDP Secretariat
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel.

A consortium of Chinese Companies have concluded arrangements for the take-off of construction of an International Market at Ikot Ekpene and Eket local government, areas of Akwa Ibom state.

The consortium companies comprises of  China Railway and Airport Construction Company, Yiwu International Market Group, Ande Logistics, Forte Energy and Jaagris Nigeria Limited.

The leader of the Chinese Group, Mr Hou Jang, who spoke through an interpreter, announced this while briefing Governor Udom Emmanuel on the state of preparedness for the project at the Governor’s Office, Uyo.

He stated the readiness of the Chinese firm to collaborate with Akwa Ibom state government in its development programmes and expressed delight at the opportunity given them to contribute to the development of the state, assuring of quality service delivery.

Governor Emmanuel thanked the Chinese companies for their decision to partner with the state in the various aspects of industrialization and other development programmes and assured them of safety, transparent legislation and conducive operational environment for the project execution.

He said,  “I am glad to hear that you are commencing operations on the construction by first week of May and I will do everything possible to ensure a smooth take-off.

“Be rest assured that those things needed to allow you invest and make profit in place. We’ve already promulgated laws to support and protect your businesses, provide adequate security for your safety. As much as we can, we will develop infrastructure to provide market for your investment.

“The state has put in place a technical committee on Foreign Direct Investment to attract investors and provide enabling environment for them to operate. Everything would be put in place to facilitate the commencement of the project by the end of May as promised by the Chinese firm”, the governor said.

The Certificate of Occupancy for Eket project would be ready by the end of April and appealed to the construction company to expedite action on the project execution, adding that the state looks forward to the commencement of commercial operations in the market by September 23 when the state will be celebrating her 30 years of statehood.

Speaking with Government House Correspondents, Stakeholders in the benefiting local government areas, Mr Lawrence Udofa, a member representing Eket State Constituency in the House of Assembly and the Chairman Ibom Power Company, Engr. Etido Inyang, commended the Governor for his investment drive in the state and the take-off of construction of the International Market as promised the people during his election campaign.

Engr. Inyang said,” The state government has allocated about 25 hectares of land for the construction of the market which is to be sited along Calabar-Itu highway in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area”.

Bayelsa Assembly Urges More Security Presence At Boundary Communities

The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has taken another step to stop the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Nembe in the state and Kalabari in Rivers state.

The State Assembly passed a two point resolution which urged the state government through relevant ministries, department and agencies to work closely with members of the National Assembly from the area and the National Boundary Commission to quickly resolve the boundary disputes.

The lawmakers also directed the executive arm to mobilise adequate security to the Oluasiri area of Nembe and adjoining riverine communities in the area to protect the people from frequent attacks by armed men from Rivers State.

The resolutions followed a motion raised by Mr. Iniyobiyo Obiene representing Nembe constituency 3 in the State House of Assembly and unanimously adopted by the lawmakers as read out by the Speaker, Mr Konbowei Friday Benson.

Mr. Obiene, had told his colleagues that the people in the two oil-bearing communities, Oluasiri in Nembe and Soku in Kalabari were fully aware of the boundary and wondered why the Kalabari people would want to step out of the boundary.

“Given the fact that Oluasiri, Robert Kiri, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, and their environs are border communities cum settlements that bids the eastern boundary of Bayelsa state, it is true that these communities are in the volatile area prone to threats and attacks from their Rivers state neighbours even in the presence of security men deployed to the area by their government.

“Regrettably, our government has not been able to send security personnel to the area to ensure protection of lives and property of our people living there.

“This is evident in the kidnapping of one Charles Demi along Oluasuri waterways in December 2012, the destruction and burning of Ijaw-Kiri in the same year, the attack on one Mr.Amaebite Obiene and his colleagues at Sand-Sand village among others”, Obiene stated.

The lawmaker who said the hostilities in the disputed area had led to waste of lives, expressed worry that residents live in fear of intimidation and frequent harassment.
According to him, “Recently during the Phase II of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, there were serious security threats.

“As the exercise proceeded to our border communities with Rivers state such as Robert Kiri, Belema I, Belema II, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, Ijaw-Kiri and Soku in the Oluasiri axis, there were attacks on our people which led to serious setbacks on our part. Mr. Speaker, if nothing is done urgently, the ugly scenario will replay itself in the census proper, scheduled to take place in 2018”.

In another development, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, has reacted to media reports that the House did not hold a public hearing as well as consult widely before passing the State Education Tax bill recently signed into law by Governor Seriake Dickson.

The Speaker said the relevant committees held public hearings and reached out to key stakeholders to get their inputs into the bill.

He said the education tax law was a good thing to have happened to the state in the quest to protect the future of millions of Bayelsa youths.

The Speaker insisted that the lawmakers were working for the collective interest of the state and would continue to support other arms of government to fast track development in the state.

Syria Crisis: Thousands Evacuated From Four Besieged Towns

Syrian Government says the operation to move people away from four besieged towns in the north western region has begun.

According to AFP reports, the people evacuated from Foah and Kefraya, two government-held towns, have arrived in Rashideen, west of Aleppo.

Similar operations have also begun in rebel-held Madaya, near Damascus.

In March, the United Nations described the situation in the towns as catastrophic, with more than 64,000 civilians trapped in a cycle of daily violence and deprivation.

Many people are reported to have died as a result of shortages of food or medicine.

Officials said more than 30,000 people would be moved.

NFF Inspects Uyo Stadium For AFCON Qualifying Matches

Federation Cup, NFFAn inspection team led by the Chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation Technical and Development Committee, Barrister Chris Green, has expressed satisfaction with the current state of the playing turf of Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo.

The stadium is slated to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier between Nigeria and South Africa in eight weeks time.

Green, alongside NFF Deputy General Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Ikpeme inspected the magnificent facility, nicknamed “Nest of Champions” which hosted the 2017 AFCON qualifier between the Super Eagles and Tanzania in September 2016, as well as the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying battle between the Eagles and the Fennecs of Algeria five months ago.

“We are delighted with the state of the playing turf and other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, I can tell you that the pitch is just as it was when the Super Eagles played Algeria in the World Cup qualifier in November 2016.

“The fact that Julius Berger has also started some work on the turf is even more re-assuring. They are adding manure, and afterwards will do cutting and rolling, and they have the benefit of the weather at this period. By the time we host South Africa on June 10, the pitch will be one of the very best anywhere in Africa”, he said.

The visit to the capital of Akwa Ibom state was to ascertain the condition of the playing pitch and indeed other facilities at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, as well as the level of commitment of the State Government to hosting the big match.

After the inspection, the team reported, “Every inch of the field is covered by grass and the grass is lush green. Julius Berger (the company that built the stadium) has commenced work on the field for the purpose of bringing it to the best standard possible.

“Every other facility is in good condition. The condition of the field, as it is now, is good enough for matches to be played on it.

“The Akwa Ibom State Government has continued to show desire and commitment to hosting the match.

“However, in order to maintain the lush green state of the pitch, the inspection team has advised that no activity be carried out on it until ongoing work is completed and the 2019 AFCON qualifier between the Eagles and the Bafana Bafana is played”.

The “Nest of Champions” will also play host to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches between the Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions on August 2017 and between the Super Eagles and the Chipolopolo of Zambia on October 2017.

NAF Intensifies Search For Ghana/ISIS Group In Benue State

Nigerian Air Force, Bombing, BornoThe Nigerian Air Force, on Thursday launched a seven day air surveillance and bombardment operation code-named “Operation Smoke Out”.

The operation is to check the activities of wanted militia leader, Terwase Akwaza and possible existence of ISIS/Boko Haram group in Benue state, as recently announced by the Department of State Services.

The Air Officer Commanding of the Tactical Air Command, Air Vice Marshal, Nurudeen Balogun, said there are no official intelligence on the existence of ISIS/Boko Haram in Benue state, Operation Smoke Out, is targeted at all known criminal elements involved in the Zaki Biam killings and the ISIS group if it exists.

The Air Officer listed Agatu, Katsina Ala and Zaki- Biam in Benue state as well as Wukari in Taraba state as the flash points for the operation, the operations will include other security agencies, while the Benue state government tasked indigenes on intelligence sharing.

The Air Officer briefs journalist on the component of the operation said,

“We are working with other security agencies to make sure we put a stop to this menace and so some air assets including, aisle assets and gunships and some fighter airplanes will be operating in the next seven days, conducting intensive operations, both day and night to make sure that we solve the problems”.

Governor Samuel Ortom who was represented by his Special Adviser on Sports and Youth Development, Professor Jonathan Uever, expressed confidence in the military to end the Benue violence.

“The Benue state government has a lot of confidence in the operations of the military and with the briefs we have received from the Air Officer Commanding, we know that it is going to be well and the people will sleep with their eyes closed, especially in the areas they showed us that they will carry out the operations”.

The Air Officer Commanding said, although there are no official report of ISIS/Boko Haram cell in Benue, the operation is designed to root out all criminal elements.

The acting commanding officer of the 101 Air Defense Group, Mohammed Baba-Ari, in a briefing with pilots and mission commanders, listed key troubled areas like Agatu, Katsina Ala, Zaki Biam and Wukari forest in Taraba state.

“The major restive areas include Agatu, Zaki Biam, Katsina Ala and Logo local government areas among others. Also a forest stretching between Benue and Taraba states is the suspected enclave for the vandals perpetrating these acts”.

The Operation Smoke Out follows last weeks approval by the Chief of Air Staff, to commence counter terrorism operations with air power in a joint security operation with ground troops of other sister agencies.

Nasarawa State Govt. Commences Payment Of Gratuity

Courtesy: en.wikipedia

The Nasarawa State Government, has commenced screening for payment of gratuities for eligible pensioners in the state.

The two days screening is supervised by the State Head of Service, Thomas Ogiri.

As early as 8:00am on Thursday, beneficiaries of the first phase of payment of gratuities and death benefits to families of deceased civil servants trooped into the Lafia city hall with relevant documents.

Speaking in an interview, Thomas Ogiri said only those whose names were published on certain newspaper are qualified for payment.

He also gave reasons why names were published saying that the government has nothing to hide from its citizens.

“We did it deliberately because this is a transparent government so nothing to hide.

“The governor ordered that it should be published so that we can see it in the newspaper publication, there is no point you come to this point without knowing how much you are going to earn”.

He further expressed satisfaction with the exercise and called on the beneficiaries to be patient adding that they will all be screened within two days.

On their part, the beneficiaries expressed gratitude to the government approving the release of their entitlements.

U.S. Withdraws Funding For UN Population Fund

The United States says it has withdrawn its funding for the United Nations Population Fund Agency (UNFPA), an agency which promotes family planning in more than 150 countries.

According to the State Department, the agency supports and participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation.

Earlier this year, President Trump had reinstated a ban on U.S. funding of any international organization that provided any kind of abortion service or advice.

Meanwhile, the agency has called the claims “Erroneous”, saying that all of its work promotes the rights of individuals and couples to make their own decisions, free of coercion or discrimination.

The U.S. State Department further stated that the money allocated to the agency will be “Transferred and reprogrammed to the Global Health Programs account, which will be used by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support family planning, maternal and reproductive health activities in developing countries.

This is the first of the promised cuts to U.S. financial contributions to the UN by the Trump administration.

Brexit: UK To Stand Up For Gibraltar’s Interests

United Kingdom has said it will stand up for Gibraltar’s interests after the territory accused Spain of using Brexit to forward its territorial aims.

Gibraltarians, who number about 30,000, rejected by 99 per cent to one per cent, the idea of the UK sharing sovereignty with Spain, in a vote in 2002.

After reported lobbying from Spain, the European Union’s Brexit negotiation strategy is that decisions affecting Gibraltar will be run past the Spanish government.

Gibraltar’s Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, said this was “Unacceptable” but foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, has held talks with Mr Picardo in an effort to reassure him of the UK’s support.

Key issues in post-Brexit negotiations relating to Gibraltar are likely to be border controls as well as airport landing rights, as thousands of workers commute in and out of the territory from the Spanish mainland every day.

Ogun Govt. Set To Review Obsolete Forestry Law

Ogun Govt. Set To Review Archaic Forestry Law The Ogun State Government has commenced the review of its Forestry and Wild Life laws promulgated 80 years ago, so as to meet up with current challenges in the forestry sub-sector of the state’s economy.

The State Commissioner for Forestry, Mr Kolawole Lawal, disclosed this while speaking with journalists on the outcome of a stakeholders meeting with Ijebu-Ode timber contractors at his office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, the state capital.

According to the commissioner, the crux of the meeting was to deliberate on ways of tackling the spate of deforestation in the nine forest reserves across the state by illegal operators.

He stated that the review of the Forestry and Wild Life laws had become imperative to forestall forest depletion which according to him, is a major factor in issues of climate change.

Mr Lawal noted that since the promulgation of the law in 1937, “No serious review had been carried out. What was done in 2006 was not a review but just a compendium of the scattered law in a single booklet”.

He, however, expressed optimism that the law when reviewed, would tackle holistically the menace of illegal logging head on.

“The outdated law has greatly affected the operation of the Ministry and development of its forest reserves but once the review is passed into law and approved, illegal activities will be stamped out in our forest reserves”, he said.

On his part, the Secretary, Association of Ijebu Timber Contractors, Ijebu-Ode Chapter, Mr Jide Fakayode, commended the state government for its unrelenting efforts at combating illegality in the reserves.

He then assured the government of the association’s cooperation and commitment to the development of forestry sector.

Federer To Face Nadal In Miami Open Final

Federer To Face Nadal In Miami Open Final
Roger Federer

Roger Federer won a thrilling three-hour contest against Nick Kyrgios to get to the finals, against Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open.

The Swiss triumphed 7-6 6-7 7-6 to take his 2017 record to 18 wins and one defeat.

Federer will take on Nadal for the 37th time on Sunday, and the second final this year after beating the Spaniard at January’s Australian Open.

Gov. Obiano Supports Umunze Federal College Of Education

The Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, has announced several support measures for the development of education in Federal College of Education, Technical, Umunze, Orumba South local government area of Anambra state.

During the 23rd Joint Convocation ceremony of the institution where governor Obiano bagged a Fellowship Award, he stated that education was a critical enabler in his administrative blueprint and would also be a tool which youths could compete favorably, globally, and all efforts would be channeled towards improving it.

He announced the immediate commencement of construction of 1.8 kilometer Boulevard leading to the institution, immediate delivery of a 32 seating capacity bus and in addition to contracting the refuse disposal of the institution to a competent private sector firm and a donation of the institution development token of 5Million Naira.

The 23rd Joint Convocation ceremony of the institution was for 2,058 graduating students for the award of the National Certificate of Education (NCE), and Professional Diploma in Education (PDE).

The academic procession was impressive as the governor also joined and added to the spectacle.

At the convocation arena, speeches from the Provost, Professor Jehoshaphat Ogbuagu and the Executive Secretary of National Commission for College of Education, Professor Babb-Aliyu Muhammadu, who represented the Minister of Education, harped on objectives of higher education in producing teachers with occupational knowledge and skills needed for teaching technology relevant to the growth of Nigeria economy.

The Governor advised the graduating students and the need for them to take up the opportunities education had provided them with.

“As you have presented your certificates, you will see where it will say that you must be found worthy in character and learning, very critical key words for your future development and for the advancement of society.”

He also contributed to the growth of the institution, “As the provost mentioned earlier that we have started work on. It is 1.8 kilometers, we will finish it and asphalt it. I have also told the Provost, although I have given you buses a couple of times to enable you to commute within this great institution, I will be giving you another 32 sitting capacity bus”.

However, the governor was then decorated with Fellowship Award of the institution which is the highest award from the College reserved exclusively for selected persons who have proved their mettle in their areas of professionalism.

The award was in recognition of his giant strides in the development of Anambra state within a short period of time.