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COVID-19: Rivers State Begins Decontamination Exercise

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The Government has kick started the decontamination of public places as part of measures to keep the state safe from coronavirus.

Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike who flagged-off the programme today at Government House, Port Harcourt, said with the commencement of the exercise, all public places in the state will be decontaminated.

He restated his administration’s commitment to the protection of the lives of everyone living and doing business in the state.

“I have always said that the lives of Rivers people and those living and doing business in the state is paramount. Part of the reason why markets are still shut is because we have not decontaminated them.

“As we decontaminate the markets, particularly the ones in Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Area, traders will undertake to abide by all relevant protocols because we are talking about the lives of people.

“All public and private schools will be decontaminated before schools open. Churches and motor parks will also be decontaminated,” he stated.

The Governor reiterated that coronavirus is real and that people who denied its existence have started believing due to the number of persons that had died.

He warned that government will not allow recalcitrant persons who refuse to obey government advisories to infect law abiding citizens with the virus.

“This issue of COVID- 19 is real and government will not hesitate to seal up and prosecute owners of banks, shopping malls, restaurants, shops, business places or offices that fail to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in their premises,” he said.

He urged the Decontamination Team not to compromise standards but to put in their best to ensure that the entire state is decontaminated.

In his speech, the Sole Administrator of the Rivers State Waste Management Agency, Bro. Felix Obuah said the Decontamination Team made up of medical and environmental experts was put in place in line with the governor’s directives to decontaminate public places in the state.

The Leader of the Decontamination Team, Dr. Ian Abraham Gobo pledged that the team will carry out the exercise with utmost dedication.

He commended the Governor for putting Rivers people first in his fight against COVID-19,adding that the decontamination of the state will give the people a new lease of live when normal business activities resume.

Governance

NDDC Boss, a Promise Keeper, says UNIUYO VC

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The Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Professor Nyakudo Ndaeyo, has described the Interim Administrator/CEO of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mr. Efiong Okon Akwa, as a promise keeper for ensuring that the long-abandoned 1000-bed NDDC hostel would soon be completed.

Professor Ndaeyo made this declaration when Mr. Akwa paid him a courtesy visit at UNIUYO Senate Chambers, as part of an inspection of the hostel project in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital.

The Vice Chancellor disclosed that he had extracted the promise from the NDDC boss to complete the project shortly after his appointment as Head of the interventionist agency.

Professor Ndaeyo thanked the NDDC for assisting the university to ease the pressure of accommodation, stressing the need to provide the university’s undergraduates with a conducive learning and living environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Akwa, who was accompanied by the state director of the Commission, Mr. Obot Udoette, and directors of the Commission, stated that the hostel, sited at the permanent site of the University, will be completed and commissioned next month.

He said that the NDDC’s commitment to the completion of the students’ hostel project was a result of a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari to the Commission to ensure the completion of all its projects in the Niger Delta region.

He said: “The 1,000 bed students’ hostel being built will be a first of its kind in the region. It will have 500 bed spaces for male undergraduates and 500 bed spaces for female undergraduates and will include recreational spaces as well.”

He stated that the university was playing a very important role in the economy and lives of the people of Akwa Ibom State and the South-South region.

The NDDC boss observed that in an era of Covid-19 pandemic, it was necessary to assist universities to properly accommodate students in order to ensure adequate provision for social distancing in the hostels.

Speaking after inspecting the hostel project, the NDDC boss assured that the Commission would assist universities in the region to ensure that their students undertake their studies in comfortable and safe environment.

Akwa expressed delight that the project had reached 95 per cent completion, with only external works and landscaping still being worked on.

He added: “We need to pull out our students from the surrounding villages where they currently reside and host them in a conducive environment fit for learning.”

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Fara Dagogo’s bill seeking 13% derivation to be paid directly to host communities bill first reading

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A bill seeking to alter the Constitution of the country to pay the 13% derivation fund directly to oil producing host communities has passed first reading on the floor of the House of Representatives.

If passed into law, the 13% derivation fund will be paid directly to the host communities of each benefiting states through the Host Communities Development Commissions.

Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Doctor Farah, Member representing Degema/ Bonny Federal Constituency from , said the bill ‘Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (HB. 1570)’, is intended to address and correct the injustices the oil producing communities have been experiencing.

In demonstrating its seriousness, a section of the bill recommended that ‘ failure of any state to establish the Host Communities Development Commission shall be deemed as an offence and such a state shall forfeit 30% of her monthly benefit from the 13% derivation fund till such a time that the Commission is established’

Before the presentation of the bill, the Federal Lawmaker had accused the Governors of the Niger Delta states, of wasting N10 trillion from the derivation fund over the years

“This is a very sad commentary as it relates to the oil-producing communities of the Niger Delta. The 13 per cent Derivation is the fund set aside to assist oil-producing communities to tackle infrastructural decay and degradation, emphasis on the oil-producing communities. What it means basically is that in sharing the federation account revenue, 13 per cent should be set aside to assist the development of these oil-producing communities.

” About two decades down the line what is there to show for the humongous monies that have come in? The Governors, past and present, view it as free monies”, he said.

“Between 2000 and 2018, over N10trillion from the 13 per cent derivation principle, have been shared to the Niger Delta Governors, on behalf of the oil-producing communities, yet the deplorable living conditions of the people from these oil-producing communities have remained nauseating and deplorable with the people battling and still reeking with the worst and highest form of poverty, “he noted.

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