AT LEAST two thousand and thirty-four set of twins and tens of multiple births on Saturday converged in Igboora the capital of Ibarapa Central local Government area of Oyo State to participate in the maiden edition of the Oyo State Twins Festival.
Some of the set of twins from the Local Governments in Ibadan converged at the Cultural Centre in Ibadan as earlier as 7am to join the train to Igboora to join counterparts from Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa zones at the Methodist grammar school, Igbo-Ora, Oyo State.
The train from Ibadan was met at the entrance of Igboora-Ora town by the Local Government Officials and Traditional chiefs from the seven towns that make up Ibarapa where the State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun laid the foundation of the twins tower to commemorate the festival.
In his address, Mr. Arulogun said that twins were invited from far and near to celebrate twins and multiple births from Igboora in commemoration of the Twins Festival, saying that the festival was a platform to showcase Igboora town with the unique feature of the highest rate of twins and multiple births in the world.
He said that the festival, organized in collaboration with Twins World Creations, Ibarapa Central Local Government, Igboora Progressive Union and the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, witnessed 2034 set of twins’ registration, adding that the attendance also covered tens of multiple births.
Arulogun said that the festival was aimed at placing Igboora on the World map as the World Highest twinning centre, saying that it was also an avenue to promote its predominant meal “Amala and Ilasa”, attributed as the cause of multiple births in the town.
He said that government’s effort will place the town and Oyo State in general on the World Map as the foremost twins’ tourism destination in the world, assuring that the state government would not relent in its drive to promote its tourism potentials.
In his address, the Chairman of Ibarapa Central Local Government, Hon. Habib Ibrahim disclosed that research affirms that Igboora alone can boast of One hundred and fifty eight (158) sets of twins for every one thousand life births, saying that available evidence attest to the fact that twins are born in Igbooraland more than anywhere else in the world.
He said, “A walk through the town can easily attest to this. There is no household without a history of at least a set of twins. This trend has made us not to see twin birth as a special phenomenon in Igboora, as it is elsewhere in the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers at the event, Oba Jamiu Badmus, the Olu-Aso of Iberekodo, who is also the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee, called for the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to sustain the festival, noting that efforts should be made to make it an international one towards making it a tourist event as a means of generating foreign exchange for Nigeria.
365 Days in Office: Makinde has created 12,000 jobs from Waste to wealth initiative- Salawu
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.
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.
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.”
Oyo: Makinde pays N180 million gratuity to 2013 retirees
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.
“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.
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
Borno launches COVID-19 heroes’ campaign
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.”
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.
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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