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EU, UN concerned by increasing attacks against aid workers in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe

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The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) expressed concerns, in a joint press conference last  Friday about the recent upsurge in attacks against aid workers and civilians recorded in recent weeks in the north-eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

Amidst a deteriorating security situation, they reiterated their commitment to work better together and strengthen efforts to provide life-saving assistance to those affected by more than ten years of crisis in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, in north-east Nigeria, and to increase support to people rebuilding their lives and communities.

On his first official trip outside Europe, Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, joined by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, met with President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hon. Sadiya Umar Farouq, and Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, as well as various partners from local CSOs, international NGOs and UN agencies implementing the humanitarian response in north-east Nigeria.

During this two-day visit, Commissioner Lenarčič and Mr Kallon, also met with people displaced and affected by the violence in the Borno State town of Gwoza and visited EU-funded relief projects.

Announcing that the European Union will allocate an additional €26.5 million in humanitarian aid,Commissioner Lenarčič declared: “I saw first-hand today the suffering that conflict has brought to people’s lives and how crucial humanitarian aid is to people’s survival. What matters most is that humanitarian organisations can reach all the people in need, without restrictions, including in areas under the influence of non-state armed groups. It is vital that all States and parties to armed conflicts respect their obligation to allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief.

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It is also key to implement in parallel a comprehensive strategy in the region, exploring political tracks while addressing the root causes of conflict.” Recent weeks have been marked by an upsurge in violent attacks from non-state armed groups and an increasing trend of illegal checkpoints on major supply and commercial routes directly targeting civilians, authorities and aid workers, especially in Borno State.

Twelve aid workers were deliberately and brutally murdered by non-state armed groups in 2019, twice the number in 2018. Two aid workers, Grace Taku and Alice Loksha, are still being held hostage by non-state armed groups and the humanitarian community call for their immediate and safe release.

“This highly symbolic visit comes at a critical time and brings together the United Nations, international and Nigerian NGOs, local and national CSOs and the European Union, as one of the most important donors,” highlighted Mr Kallon. “We are extremely worried that civilians and those who are providing them with assistance are the direct target of violent attacks, hindering our ability to save lives and help people rebuild livelihoods and communities.”

“All actors and stakeholders must strengthen their efforts to provide life-saving assistance to the most vulnerable people affected by the crisis, and do their utmost to guarantee the protection of civilians and aid workers, and safe, unconditional access to the people in need,” added the Humanitarian Coordinator.

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The humanitarian crisis in Nigeria remains one of the largest crises across the globe. In a complex and volatile security environment, the United Nations and NGO partners, in collaboration with local and national authorities in Nigeria, have delivered urgent support and basic services to over 5.6 million people in the crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, in Nigeria’s north-east.
In 2020, the humanitarian community estimates that 7.7 million people will need emergency assistance.

Over 1.8 million people, across the three crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are still living in camps or are hosted in other communities, that are themselves becoming extremely vulnerable.

1.2 million people in need remain cut off from humanitarian aid in hard-to-reach areas.

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Oyo govt working towards Independent Power Supply – Energy Commissioner

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Oyo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Barrister Temilolu ‘ Seun Ashamu, has declared that state has already begun efforts towards achieving independent power supply in the next few years.

He maintained that the options of building an independent power station were already being explored by the state.

Ashamu sought for the support of the leaderships of both the federal and state’s energy generation and power supply agencies for the government to improve the distribution of electricity across the length and breadth of the state.

Ashamu, while speaking on a radio programme, said that the government would take advantage of its potentials such as dams and landscape to power unserved areas in the state to increase the hours of electricity supply in the state.

He said: “The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources is saddled with the responsibility of coordinating independent power in Oyo State to establish independent electric grid.

“We are working on creating a conducive environment for effective teaching and learning in schools. Also, there should be steady power supply in our hospitals and primary health centres.

“Last year, I sought permission from the governor to meet with the Transmission Company of Nigerian in Abuja. We met with them on how to improve the electricity distribution in the state.”

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The commissioner expressed the readiness of the Governor Seyi Makinde-led administration to further improve on the well-being of citizens through the actualization of the independent power supply project initiative.

He added: “On the economic side of things, we know that if we want foreign investors in our state, we must assure them of constant power supply.”

He added that efforts were ongoing to identify potentials and resources in each zone of the state and locations in order to determine appropriate means of generating power for residents of each zone, saying: “We are currently on a survey to identify the quality and quantity of mineral resources we have in our state. This would attract private investors to the state for the development of the sector.”

He reiterated that the ministry would make use of natural energy solutions such as solar, wastes, water, farmland and air, among others, to address the issue of irregular power supply in earnest.

“As regards natural resources, we must first gather sufficient data before taking any step. This is what Minerals Development Agency is currently doing. They are surveying the entire state to know how many natural resources we have, their location, sufficiency and quality. It is this data that can be used to attract foreign investments.”

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Barr. Ashamu, who admonished residents of the state to be patient and cooperate with the state government in its quest to bring the independent power supply project into reality, said: “What we are looking at is to have programmes for our rural communities, which will be different from the urban areas. Of course, it is with this that we would be talking about generating independent power for all. We would use natural energy solutions such as; solar, waste, water and wind to generate electricity.

“We need the cooperation of the residents of the state. We also want our people to be patient with us. For instance, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources has just been established, therefore, we started with establishing a management and staffing framework that we would be working with.

“Also, there are some strategies that would be adopted to reduce wastage in the use of electricity in residential and commercial buildings.”

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Makinde moves to boost Oyo’s IGR through speedy issuance of land title documents

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The Seyi Makinde led Oyo state government has disclosed  that it has established a new era in the State’s Internally Generated Revenue drive, through speedy issuance of land title documents.

The Commissioner for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Barrister Abiodun Abdu-Raheem stated this at a day retreat organized by Private Networks Nigeria LTD for officials of the Ministry, held at Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, Abeokuta Ogun State.

According to him, Oyo State is blessed with resources and latent revenue opportunities which is needed to be unlocked.

“As a major stakeholder in revenue generation for the state government, we are here to strategize on how to move the state forward, because the state is blessed with resources and latent opportunities that needs to be unlocked”, he said.

Abiodun added that a cursory review of previous years’ performances show that over Two billion (N2 billion) Naira is being generated annually for the past three years through Land Use charges but this is far less than what is expected from the Ministry.

“A cursory review of previous years shows that only Two billion (N2 Billion) is being generated annually from Land Use Charges. This is a far cry from the income expected to be generated by a state like ours that desires to be self-sufficient with or without the Federal allocation”, he noted.

He further explained that since the inception of the present administration of Governor Seyi Makinde, the Ministry has been able to improve on its Revenue Generating strength through recovery of over two hundred (200) plots of lands which has been reallocated for interested members of the public.

Also, the Ministry has introduced Three hundred thousand naira (N300,000.00) as an expression of interest application fee for Housing Developers, as well as settlement of pending litigations against the state government on land matters among other things.

Barrister Abiodun pointed out that the retreat which focuses on issuance of Land title documents such as Home Owners’ Charter and Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) will help the Ministry fashion out ways to let people obtain their documents easily and affordably.

“I wish to state here that the state Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde is establishing a new era where land title documents would be timely and accurately delivered to justifiable applicants”.

While speaking, Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinola Ojo described the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, as a major stakeholder in revenue generation for the state government.

He lauded the Ministry’s initiative to take part in the retreat, while he also assured that the Ministry of Finance will provide all necessary support at ensuring that the Revenue Generation initiative of the state government is not jeopardized.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lnads, TPL Ademola Ajibola said the retreat was very essential in educating and enlightening the officials of the Ministry on their roles at ensuring an increase in the revenue drive of the state government through the quick issuance of Land title documents.

 

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Makinde directs payment of five months salaries of OYWMA workers within 24 Hours

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Tuesday, directed the immediate payment of five months outstanding salaries of contract workers of the Oyo State Waste Management Authority (OYWMA) owed by the sacked contractor, West AfricaENRG, within 24 hours.

A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor issued the directive while addressing the contract workers, who converged on the Governor’s Office.

Governor Makinde, who noted that the delay in the payment of their five months salaries was because the sacked contractor, West AfricaENRG, failed to pay them as and when due.

The Governor said the delay in the payment of the contract workers’ salaries was due to lack of straight forwardness and clarity in the records inherited by the administration, noting, however, that the case file had already been approved and that the State’s Accountant General (AG) has been ordered to commence payment with immediate effect.

He said: “I know that the Commissioner for Environment has addressed you earlier this morning but when I saw you on my way to the office, I asked about the development, because I thought your money had been paid. But I was told the file was on my table and I have approved it immediately.

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“Because the records we met were not straightforward, you will come here and collect your money yourselves. Some officials have gone to meet with the Accountant-General now, if it is possible they will commence payment this afternoon (Tuesday afternoon) and if it is tomorrow morning, they will effect the payment.”

Governor Makinde stressed that the payment should be made directly to the workers who are entitled to the money.

He said: “The last time I addressed you was about a month ago and I told you that the money owed you by your previous employer, West AfricaENRG will be paid by the state government, because the state government was supposed to pay the contractor but I told them not to effect the payment until your own salaries are paid.

“When we are done paying your salaries, whatever is left will be given to the contractor, if it is what they have actually worked for.”

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