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Following the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to resume attacks on oil installations, the federal government at the weekend released plans for the development of the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region.

Nigeria depends on its oil for almost 90 per cent of its foreign exchange earnings and 70 per cent of total earnings.

Sustained attacks on oil installations by the Avengers in the first of 2016 contributed to halving Nigeria’s oil output and plunging the country into its first recession in 25 years.

But with the temporary end to hostilities secured by the government late last year, Nigeria has been able to ramp up crude production and was one of the major factors, along with higher oil prices, that the country exited the recession by the second quarter of 2017.

A statement by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, Sunday night listed the plans to include increased budgetary allocation to the Niger Delta ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), take off of the Maritime University in Delta State, commencement of the Ogoni clean-up exercise, investment in infrastructure such as the construction of N120.6 billion Bonny-Bodo Road and N1 billion Ibaka deep sea port.

Other plans he listed were approval for the establishment of an export processing zone in Delta State, approval for establishment of modular refineries, and increased allocation for Presidential Amnesty Programme.

Giving details of the budgetary allocations for the region’s programme in 2018, Akande said N71.20 billion was allocated in the 2018 budget to Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), N65 billion for the Amnesty Programme, and N53.89 billion for the Ministry of Niger Delta, up from the N34.20 billion in 2017.

On the Maritime University, he said: “The new Maritime University in Okerenkoko, Delta State, has now commenced operations, inviting job applications for academic staff.

“President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration recently approved an increase in the take off grant from the N2 billion earlier announced to N5 billion. This sum was included in the 2018 budget presented to the National Assembly earlier this week under the Federal Ministry of Education allocation.

“Academic activities are expected to start in the university soon following the completion of the hiring process for professors, readers, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant, assistant lecturers and graduate assistants to teach in the Faculties of Science, Maritime Transportation, Maritime Engineering and Technology, Maritime Environmental Management and General Studies.

“The take off of the Maritime University was one of the major requests tabled before the federal government when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo went on a series of tour to all the Niger Delta states during the year, following President Buhari’s meeting with leaders of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) last November.”

On Ogoni clean up, he said in June 2016, the administration started the implementation of the 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland devastated by decades of oil spills.

“An inter-ministerial committee on Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) under the Federal Ministry of Environment was established.

“HYPREP has since set up structures in place for the final take off of the clean up and restoration of the region devastated by oil spills. This shows the commitment of the FG to restore the region.

“Eight companies have been engaged to conduct demonstration clean up exercises in the four local government areas of Ogoniland, to enable HYPREP select the best and most suitable technology for the remediation work.

“These demonstrations were recently concluded; the results are being studied by the governing council of the Ogoni clean up project.

“HYPREP has also trained 15 indigenous Ogoni scientists on environmental assessment remediation.

“HYPREP assessed existing water facilities in Ogoniland in line with the UNEP recommendation report that potable water be provided for Ogoni, following pollution of water sources in the region by oil spills.

“A health impact assessment study to be done to ascertain whether there is a link between some disease patterns and oil pollution in the affected communities is also being done.

“Bids have been invited for consultancy on provision of water, health study and environmental remediation,” the statement added.

It explained that the Bonny-Bodo bridge and road project is a public private partnership arrangement jointly funded by the federal government and the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) on a 50:50 basis.

According to him, when completed, the 34-kilometre road will connect several major communities in the Niger Delta region and boost socio-economic development and improve on the lives of people in the region.

Akande also said the federal government approved the establishment of the export processing zone (EPZ) comprising the gas city project at Ogidigben and the deep seaport in Gbaramatu, Warri South-west Local Government Area of Delta State.

“When fully operational, these projects are expected to boost socio-economic activities and improve the security landscape of the Niger Delta region,” he added.

On the modular refineries, he said 13 of 35 applications received by the government had reached what he described as the LTC (Licence to Construct) stage.

He also said two of these 13 refineries are almost ready for shipment while consideration for a customs duty waiver and some form of tax holidays are also underway.

The advent of modular refineries, he added, would create a robust domestic refining sector necessary to meet and exceed the full capacity of national demand, address the proliferation of illegal refineries in the Niger Delta and attendant environmental degradation, and provide jobs for unemployed youths in the region.

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SANWO-OLU BIDS JUSTICE BULKACHUWA FAREWELL, AS APPEAL COURT PRESIDENT RETIRES

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…Lagos’ll Always Keep Faith In The Rule Of Law, Says Governor

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said his administration will not deviate from the tenet of constitutional democracy, promising that actions of the State Government under his watch will be kept within the ambit of the law.

He said his Government’s faith in the judicial system remained unshakable, adding that Lagos had been a beneficiary of the rule of law.

Sanwo-Olu spoke on Wednesday while receiving the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, on a courtesy visit at the Lagos House in Marina.

Justice Bulkachuwa, who was accompanied by other Justices of the Appeal Court, is retiring from the service after reaching the mandatory retirement period.

The Governor said Lagos would always stand on the good side of the law, adding that his administration would particularly stand in principle against actions that may undermine the independence of the Court.

He said: “Government in Lagos State is committed to ensuring that we all live within the ambit of the law. We will continue to engage the judiciary as an independent arm of the government. All of us in the executive arm will continue to uphold the tenet of the constitution that we swore to in our ways and deeds. We will not run foul of the law or any pronouncement of the Court.”

Sanwo-Olu saluted the outgoing Justice Bulkachuwa for her courage in driving far-reaching reforms in the Court of Appeal, saying her legacies would strengthen administration of justice across the country. The Governor said her legacies would be a guiding light for members of the judiciary and officers in the other arms of government.

The Governor said: “We are happy that you are proceeding to retirement at this prime age. You are now 70 years old but you are looking like a 50-year-old. Glory be to Almighty Allah for the grace of youthful appearance and energy. You have had a wonderful career in the judiciary.

“The several successes you have recorded during your tenure as President of the Court of Appeal will continue to be the legacy we will uphold in remembrance of your service to the nation. You are the oldest serving President of the Court of Appeal and you brought many reforms and laudable initiatives to strengthen the judicial process.

“Whoever is succeeding you will have enough to draw from your legacies. We hope you keep your doors open not only to the judiciary but also all of us who are looking forward to learn from your leadership skills.”

Justice Bulkachuwa said she would dedicate her retirement life to promoting girl-child education across the country, noting that she would not have achieved her potential had her father not given her a chance to go to school.

She was hopeful that the reforms and discipline she had instituted in the judiciary would be strengthened by the serving members, pointing out that she had mentored a new breed of judicial officers to entrench “good legacies” she is leaving behind.

“I will still be with my sisters and brother in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Courts. I have mentored so many young judicial officers and upcoming lawyers to carry on the legacies. I will still be part of the judicial system despite my retirement,” Justice Bulkachuwa said.

Asked why she chose to visit Lagos Governor in her first valedictory visit to any elected official, Justice Bulkachuwa said it was in Lagos the first Court of Appeal was set up among the three divisions created in 1976.

Besides, she said Lagos is playing pivotal roles in the administration of justice system, pointing out that majority of lawyers in the judiciary are serving in the State. She added that most of Appeal Court’s cases were being instituted in Lagos.

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AJE FESTIVAL 2020 Holds In Ile-Ile

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All roads lead to the ancient city of Ile-Ife believed to be the cradle of humanity as the Arole Oodua & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II will on Monday 24th February 2020 lead thousands of Ife indigenes, market men and women, tourists, financial experts and business tycoons from across Nigeria and abroad to celebrate the 2020 edition of Aje festival.

Reports from the Ile-Oodua palace of the Ooni confirmed the organizers of this year’s AJE festival led by Dr Toyin Kolade are not leaving any stone unturned with top gear preparations to enable Ooni Ogunwusi host this year’s edition of the annual AJE FESTIVAL expected to be attended by both local and international participants in a more remarkable way.

Speaking on behalf of the Ooni who is the natural head of the Oduduwa race globally, his Director of Media & Public Affairs Comrade Moses Olafare said in a press release that not less than twenty Africans in diaspora like Cubans Brazilians and Americans have confirmed their flight tickets to arrive Nigeria this weekend to take part in the festival on Monday.

“The 2020 AJE FESTIVAL Planning Committee ably led by Princess(Dr) Toyin Kolade are working assiduously with the Arole Oodua Olofin Adimula to ensure a better and more superlative edition of the festival this year with several foreigners coming to participate, especially from Cuba, Brazil and America. Olafare said.

According to Princess Toyin Kolade captured in the statement, Ooni Ogunwusi with white pigeons in his hands will lead the procession of participants from the palace ‘Ile Oodua’ to the Aje shrine known ‘Idi Aje’, located a kilometer away from the palace right inside the Ejigbomekun market believed to be oldest market in the world where prayers for economic and commercial prosperity of the Oduduwa race worldwide and Nigeria in particular will be made, after which the pigeons are released into the air.

“Iyalaje Toyin Kolade last Saturday led her committee to brief His Majesty the Ooni that not less than twenty Africans in diaspora have already confirmed their flight tickets to arrive Lagos before Saturday from where they will be conveyed to Ile-Ife for the Aje festival holding on Monday which will witness a long procession by the the participants to be led by the Ooni himself holding some pigeons in his hands which will be released into the air after prayers are offered at the shrine(Idi Aje)”. Olafare said.

The statement added that as one of the 401 gods and goddesses like Ogun(iron), Osun(water), Kori(children) and Orunmila(divination) Aje is a deity in charge of wealth and economic prosperity with great positive influence on the world’s economy.

“The deity of AJE is in charge of wealth, commerce and economy just like Ogun is in charge of iron and Osun is in charge of waters. The festival annually holds on a Monday traditionally known as ‘Ojo Aje’ in Yoruba parlance. During this Aje Festival, participants including foreign tourists, business men and women would purchase a white pigeon each, this is symbolic of purity and peace.” Olafare added

It will be recalled that Princess Kolade led a royal team to Brazil in August last advancing the cause of AJE FESTIVAL where fruitful discussions and meetings were held with government of the city of RIO and other cultural tourism stakeholders for collaboration on the festival in furtherance of the Cultural Tourism Revolution Agenda of the Arole Oodua’Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, the Ooni of Ife & Traditional Head of the Yoruba race globally.

The activities of 2020 edition of ODUN AJE will be climaxed with a dinner party at the banquet hall of the palace where guests and the foreign tourists will be entertained by the Apala music maestro, Musiliu Aruna Isola.

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Princewill’s Trust – “Help a Hard Worker”: George Emerges Winner of 2020 Edition

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A 300 level student of the music department in the University of Port Harcourt has emerged winner of the January edition of the “Help the Hard worker” competition organized by the popular non-governmental organization, Princewill’s Trust for entrepreneurs, youths and Rivers residents who are engaged in micro business ventures and all forms of hard work in Rivers State.

Mr. George Tamunomenji Amonia beat over one thousand contestants who entered for the contest to emerge winner for the month of January 2020, with Mr. Princewill Goodluck and Miss Duru Cynthia emerging first and second runners up respectively.

Receiving the cash prize of One Hundred Thousand Naira at his gaming centre premises in Buguma city, capital of the Asari Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. George thanked the organizers and described the gesture as a big testimony to the fact that hard work and consistency actually do pay.

He noted that, he started out the business with funds realized from menial jobs and called on youths in the state to look for other tangible activities such as fishing, farming and any vocational activity, rather than waiting for white collar jobs or engaging in criminal activities or economic crimes within the state and around the country at large.

On her part, a highly elated mother of the winner, Deaconess Fabia Amonia George thanked the team from Princewills Trust for the gesture which she initially had doubts about. She confessed though that the doubts have now been cleared by the arrival of the team in Buguma and the handing over of the prize to her son. She commended the founder of the Trust, Prince Tonye T.J.T Princewill for the initiative and prayed for more blessing in his life to enable him sustain the good work the Trust is doing.

Speaking on behalf of Princewill’s Trust, Dagogo Emmanuel stated that the aim of the Princewill’s Trust is to contribute to the development of Rivers State through little support to entrepreneurs of small, micro and medium scale business owners to enable them expand their business and in turn create jobs which in turn help reduce poverty and so making a small contribution to bridging the inequality gap in the state.

Dagogo also used the opportunity to call on youths in the state to be peaceful and law abiding so as to give the state a positive image which will not only help attract the needed investments into the state but will enable existing businesses strive, which will in turn create job opportunities, reduce poverty and improve our development.

Finally, he called on other Rivers men and women, small business owners, youths and hard workers in the state to take advantage of the Princewill’s Trust initiative by going to register for the February edition of the competition as they too might emerge winners of the competition some day. With almost two decades of giving back, the Trust has been engaged in many interventions from small business support, women and skills development, disaster relief, scholarships, youth engagement and continuous medical outreach.

 

 

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