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At last, Senate passes police reform bill

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Following the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, the Nigerian Senate during plenary on Wednesday, passed the Police Reform Bill, 2019 

The report was presented by Senator Tijjanj Kaura, while, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa seconded that the Senate considers the report of the Committee.

Senator Gbenga Ashafa noted that the parliament had to look at what the Bill stands for and address issues such as “welfare and the environment” in which police operatives work.

“Do they have enough for logistics? Do they have running funds to take care of fuel or even stationaries? We need to focus on the Police Trust Fund as an Intervention,” Ashafa asked.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki had earlier described the bill as a very important one.

Saraki said that the bill will address how the police will be reformed.

“Since the formulation in 1943, the original Bill has not undergone a review. We still know where we should go ideally but until we get there, let us address how we should reform the police,” he said.

After the Senate dissolved into the Committee of the Whole for the clause by clause consideration of the bill, it was read a third time and passed.

 

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365 Days in Office: Makinde has created 12,000 jobs from Waste to wealth initiative- Salawu

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The clean and green initiative of Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo state has created 12,000 direct jobs for skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled income earners in Oyo State, through the on-going rehabilitation at Awotan dump site.

The Contractor handling the Clean & Green project, Mr. Idowu Salawu said this while speaking with Journalists at the site today.

Mr. Salawu, whose company, Macpresse West Africa Ltd. is handling the rehabilitation of Awotan and Ajakanga dumpsites revealed that the project has birthed 500 registered private companies that are engaged in refuse collection at the 11 LGAs in the 1st phase of the programme.

“Each registered company invested in the purchase of minimum of 2 refuse collection trucks valued at N24M and each truck employs a minimum of 6 persons in its day to day running”, he said.

Making further analysis, Idowu Salawu said, “the scheme, called clean and green initiative, has engaged 6,000 direct employment opportunity. Each, presently engaged 500 PSP operators having six personnel managing the 1,000 trucks with drivers, motor boys and 4 refuse parkers engaged on a permanent basis”.

“Other employment created from the scheme includes 100 daily workers at the host community of Awotan, Apete and Akufo in Ido LGA where the ongoing rehabilitation of dumpsite has provided jobs for about 100 refuse dump scavengers and construction workers that make their daily livelihood at the dumpsite”, he added.

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Salawu further said the total value of investment injected into Oyo state economy is estimated at N12billion from private sectors just to add value chain into waste management in line with international best practice.

The contractor who showed journalists at the site round the on-going work said when completed the projects would make better positive economic impacts on the people of the state.

Mr. Salawu further added that since the opening of the dump site, over ten million metric tonnes of waste has been dumped so far and with this, Oyo State can take advantage and produce thousands of megawatts of electricity for the good people of the state.

He added that Residents of Oyo state, especially Awotan environs have been assured of the Oyo state government’s commitment to eradicating all health hazards and environmental pollution threat that the Awotan dumpsite may pose.

“The dumpsite which sits on a 25 hectare large expanse of land was not utilized to the optimum because of the lack of access roads to reach the other ends of the site, many waste disposal trucks offload their contents at the entrance because they cannot reach the ends; we have constructed about 1km road network to link all the dump hangars we have compartmentalize”, he added.

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He said they are currently doing the landfill reclamation and landfill remediation to cover the refuse with soil as this has the potential of generating up to 1 megawatt of power on each compartment. This is in line with the state government’s plan to make a renewable energy hub out of the dumpsite.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Dr. Bashir Olanrewaju assured that the dumpsite is being upgraded to meet international standard and practice of waste disposal and evacuation, while exploring the option of converting waste to wealth through recycling.

He noted that the first thing the Contractor had to combat was air pollution that has contaminated the atmosphere around Apete dumpsite.

He said “that is what we achieved in the first few days. We have reduced the stench to a non-existent level.”

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Oyo: Makinde pays N180 million gratuity to 2013 retirees

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The Oyo State government, on Monday, released the sum of N180 million as part of the outstanding gratuity and pension arrears for 2013 retirees from the civil service.The state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, while conducting a symbolic presentation of cheques to some of the retirees at the Government House, Agodi, Ibadan, vowed to ensure that retirees get what they deserve from the government.

He stated that those who have served diligently needed all the support they can get from the state.

He added that ordinarily, the payment of gratuity to retirees should come immediately after retirement, noting that he was honoured to present the symbolic cheques to beneficiaries who finished the processing of their retirement papers in 2013.

According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, Governor Makinde stated that despite the meagre resources available to the state, his administration would continue to bring relief to the entire workforce in the state and its senior citizens.

He said: “I welcome you to the symbolic presentation of cheques to retirees who finished the processing of their retirement papers in 2013. In total, 82 of these retirees will be paid their full retirement benefits.

“Seven years is a long time for anyone who could not work to wait to get paid their benefits. Such payment should ideally come immediately upon retirement and it is indeed disheartening that the previous administration did not do what was supposed to be done when it should be done.

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“While I was crisscrossing the state in search of support for votes, what I heard from everyone including the pensioners, is that I should forget about what the previous administration did or did not do but focus on those things that we wanted to do. And this is why we will not dwell on what the previous administration did not do. We will focus on the things that we have to do and those things we want to do. We will take full responsibility even for things that they ought to have done but did not do.

“This administration remains committed to finishing whatever things the previous administrations have left undone, and these include payments of this nature.”

The governor maintained that the state has a backlog of N26 billion in unpaid gratuities for 6,274 pensioners in the state, adding that his administration has been making efforts to offset the alarming debt despite the limited sources of funds for the government.

“I give you a promise that as our economy is getting expanded, so also we will be adding more to what we need to pay to pensioners to ensure that we shorten the period within which we can offset this debt.

“When a child inherits fortune from his father, he will not reject it. In the same way, if he inherits debt, he is duty-bound to do something about it and that is what I just explained. We are doing something about it. We are aware of this debt even while going around for electioneering but what we did not know at that time was the capacity to pay and also how the finances of the state were being managed, prior to our coming on board,” the governor said.

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He added: “As I said during my broadcast in commemoration of our administration’s one year in office, we have paid more gratuities and entitlements in one year than the previous administration did in eight years. This was possible because we increased monthly allocation for gratuities from N100 million to N180 million with effect from June 2019 and what this means is, we have committed one billion, nine hundred and eight million Naira (N1.908 billion) to this payment in the past one year with a total number of 886 retired civil servants, hospital workers, teaching and non-teaching staff benefitting.

“When we came in, we still had the gratuities arrears of 2011. Now, we have completed the arrears of 2011 and 2012 and we are now on 2013. I give you the assurance that we will keep paying off these debts and I know we will finish paying them.”

The governor reiterated the determination of his administration to ensure that everyone in the state feels the impact of governance.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Prof. Kehinde Sangodoyin said the increase in the release for payment of gratuity from One Hundred Million Naira (N100m) that was paid by the last administration to One Hundred and Eighty Million Naira (N180m) by the Makinde administration has alleviated the suffering of the helpless retirees and has gone a long way to project this administration as a people-centred government

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Borno launches COVID-19 heroes’ campaign

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As part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 outbreak in north-east Nigeria, Borno State, WHO in collaboration with partners, has launched a campaign tagged “COVID-19 Heroes Campaign”, to recognize and designate survivors as heroes and heroines.

Launching the initiative on 29 May 2020 in Maiduguri, the Borno state Deputy Governor and Chairman of the State Task Force on COVID-19 Response, Alhaji Usman Umar Kadafur said that the campaign aims to demystify and de-stigmatize COVID-19 survivors by declaring them heroes and heroines of a disease that has claimed 25 lives in Borno. As at 28 May there are 257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Borno and 8915 in Nigeria.

“In Borno state, where insurgency has caused enormous internal displacements for many people, loss of jobs and lives for others, it is only heroes and heroines that can survive a combination of these life-threatening conditions coupled with COVID-19 infection. This is the reason why the government recognizes the COVID-19 survivors as heroes and heroines”, says Alhaji Kadafur.

The Deputy Governor, Alhaji Kadafur adds that, “You have become the beacon of truth that COVID-19 is real. You have become the symbol of hope that COVID-19 can be survived even as the preventive vaccine is underway. You have proved that our isolation centres are active and functional. You have defeated COVID-19. For that, I declare you “Heroes and Heroines”. Congratulations.”

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Notwithstanding, he cautioned the survivors that despite their current negative status, they still need to observe preventive etiquettes including regular hand washing under running water with soap or use of hand sanitizers, social distancing of at least two metres, covering of cough and sneezes, using face mask and avoiding crowded areas.

On his part, Dr Musa Audu the WHO State Coordinator in Borno, reiterated WHO’s commitment to supporting the state to rapidly control the COVID-19 outbreak which has already affected eight Local Government Areas (LGAs).

“Although, Borno state has confirmed 257 cases, including 25 deaths since the index case was reported on 19 April 2020, WHO is coordinating partners’ response as well as providing technical and financial support to the Ministry of Health to actively search for suspected cases of COVID-19 in the communities,” says Dr Audu.

Presently, WHO is supporting local healthcare workers to trace contacts, manage confirmed cases on isolation and screen travelers at 28 entry points into Borno state. In addition, the Organization is supporting the State to implement risk communication and surveillance activities, strengthen logistics, provide mental healthcare services to people in need and build the capacities of local healthcare workers. “Since the beginning of the response in Borno state, WHO has built the capacity of more than 1000 healthcare workers including medical doctors, pharmacists, epidemiologists, nurses, health education officers and community health extension workers,” Dr. Audu adds.

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Borno state is at the centre of a decade-old insurgency in north-east Nigeria which has claimed several lives and displaced millions of people internally.

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