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Zambia: 2.3 million people face severe food insecurity

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A “catastrophic” combination of drought and communities’ declining resilience has left an estimated 2.3 million people facing severe acute food insecurity – up from an estimate of 1.7 million people a month ago.

Communities across southern Africa have been affected by drought since late 2018.

This year, large parts of southern and western Zambia received their lowest seasonal rainfall totals since at least 1981, the base year from which normal rainfall is benchmarked. At the same time, northern and eastern parts of the country were affected by flash floods and waterlogging, resulting in poor harvests.

Mr Kaitano Chungu, the Secretary General of the Zambia Red Cross, said:

“Before the communities could recover from the impacts of flood episodes that characterised the 2017/2018 season, the 2018/2019 season has been hit by drought. The successive mixture of drought and flooding has been catastrophic for many communities. In most of the affected areas there isn’t enough drinking water, which means that people and animals—both livestock and wildlife—are having to use the same water points. This is unacceptable as it exposes people to diseases and creates a heightened risk of animal attacks.”

Some families in the worst-affected areas are surviving the food shortage by eating wild fruits and roots, a coping mechanism that exposes them to poisonous species which may be life-threatening or pose serious health risks.

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Some of the Zambia Red Cross branches are among the aid groups that have been distributing food relief to hunger-affected communities on behalf of government for a few months now, but more help is needed.

The Zambia Red Cross and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) are today appealing for almost 3.5 million Swiss francs. This appeal will fund efforts to provide sustained emergency and recovery-focused assistance to about 57,000 people who are among the worst-affected by the current crisis.

Through the Red Cross operation, targeted families will receive unconditional cash grants, as well as assistance designed to improve future food production.

Dr Michael Charles, the head of IFRC’s Southern Africa cluster office, said:

“Our priority is to quickly provide emergency cash to vulnerable families. However, we want to go beyond simply stabilizing the situation: we want to offer sustained support so that people are better able to face and navigate future climate threats without needing external assistance. Ultimately our goal is about helping people become more resilient.”

According to experts at the Global Change Institute (GCI) at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, temperatures in southern Africa have risen on average by twice as much as global temperatures.

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In addition, GCI estimates that, based on current emissions, temperatures in the regional interior could climb 5°-6°C by the end of the century – well above the anticipated global temperature rise.

Warming of that magnitude would be potentially catastrophic. Life-threatening heatwaves would become more frequent. The production of staple crops such as maize and wheat would be severely impaired. Water resources, already at their limit throughout southern Africa, would be dramatically reduced in quality and quantity. Livestock would not be viable over much of the sub-continent.

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Ladoja At 76: Alao pens emotional thank you message to ex-Oyo governor

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Ibadan North East/South East Federal House of representatives nominee of the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) in the 2019 election, Mr. Semih Oladimeji Alao on Friday penned an emotional appreciation message to former Governor Rasidi Ladoja, describing him as the most innovative personality in politics. 

 

 

The Osi Olubadan of Ibadanland, Chief Ladoja, was born on September 25, 1944.

 

Alao in a message obtained by Mega Icon Magazine also thanked the former governor of Oyo state for his amazing efforts and support over the years.

The message reads, “Happy 76th Birthday to Osi Olubadan of Ibadan, the most innovative person in politics today. High Chief (Daddy) Rasidi Adewolu Ladoja.

 

“Not only do you seamlessly adapt to address the emerging challenges from the persistent ones that we face in our society today, but you are also always striving to make things better with new approaches and such unfaltering determination.

“I just want to thank you for all of your amazing efforts and support over the years!

“Many happy returns to you today Sir”, it added.

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2020 budget touched all sectors of economy inspite of COVID-19 – Makinde

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Governor Seyi Makinde has said that the 2020 budget of Oyo state touched every sector of the state’s economy has requested by citizens and stakeholders.

The Governor, who spoke through his deputy, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, disclosed this at the 2021 town hall stakeholders meeting held at Igboho.

The governor lamented that COVID-19 brought a shrink to the budget on capital expenditure, adding, that the state is still managing to accommodate all the needs of each community as highlighted by the stakeholders.

 

He said that the state is poised to engage more stakeholders in the preparation of the 2021 budget by consulting across the seven geopolitical zones in Oyo state as opposed to the three senatorial districts for the 2020 budget for more openness and transparency.

 

Governor Makinde further asserted that his administration is predominantly about inclusion which is the fulcrum on which democracy rests, urging the people to come out and dialogue with government since they are the most affected by the decisions of government.

 

While x- raying some completed projects executed by his administration in Oke-Ogun region, the governor disclosed that government has begun the remodeling of OYSADA headquarters at Saki, upgrading of various primary healthcare centres and facilities and the set up of a specialist hospital.

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The state helmsman urged the people to be security conscious in the face of recent security challenges, saying, security is our collective responsibility.

While responding to the requests and submissions from all local governments and stakeholders, he assured that the state will ensure that the issues of security, education, employment and power supply will be looked into and will get budgetary attention in 2021 within the available resources.

 

Earlier, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto highlighted the projects the government executed as requested by the people of the region in the 2020 budget meetup with stakeholders.

 

He said the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin road, return of OYSADEP now OYSADA headquarters to Saki, fixing of Saki- Ogboro- Igboho road among other things are a promise kept by the current administration.

The commissioner urged the citizens of the food basket region of the state to make inputs and cooperate with government in fixing roads and other projedts to enable government in delivering on its promises.

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Makinde flags off construction of 360 housing units, Ajoda new town estate

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Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, flagged off the construction of 360 Housing Units at the Ajoda New Town Estate, located on the New Ibadan-Ife Expressway.

 

 

The estate, which is estimated to cost about Two Billion, Five Hundred Million Naira (N2.5 billion), according to the governor, will enhance affordable housing to all and sundry in the state.

 

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted the governor as saying that the strategic location of the new estate will ensure that the investors make quick returns on their investments.

 

 

In another development, Governor Makinde, also, on Wednesday, handed over the Agbowo Shopping Complex, Ibadan, to investors who have committed to turning around the fortunes of the abandoned complex in 104 weeks.

 

 

The complex, which is located opposite the Main Gate of University of Ibadan, was commissioned in 1984 but abandoned 12 years ago.

 

 

The statement indicated that Makinde, while speaking at the flag-off ceremony held at the Ajoda Housing Estate, New Ife Road, Ibadan, declared the determination of his administration to bridge the gap in the housing sector in Oyo State.

 

 

He said that the New Ajoda Housing Project is jointly sponsored by the Oyo State Government and Remax Realtors Limited, saying that, while the state provided thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, the developer is expected to solely finance the project.

 

 

The governor, who stated that the flagging off of the Ajoda Housing Estate is a fulfilment of one of his campaign promises, said the project will consist of 2-bedroom semi-detached houses; 3-bedroom semi-detached houses and 3-bedroom detached houses.

 

 

This was just as the governor said that the project will be replicated in other parts of the state so that many residents of the state can benefit from such projects.

 

 

He added that investors have begun to repose confidence in the state and are willing to do business in Oyo State because of the way the government is now being run by the present administration.

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He said: “We are here today to flag off a project, which is in fulfilment of one of my campaign promises. Those who have taken time to study our Roadmap for Accelerated Development in Oyo State, 2019-2023, would have come across our promise to facilitate private sector-driven housing delivery through variants of public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives.

 

 

“And so today, we are flagging off the construction of three hundred and sixty (360) housing units here in Egbeda Local Government Area, Ibadan Zone.

“As I said earlier, this is a PPP initiative. We are working with Remax Realtors Limited. To make this project a reality, the Oyo State Government through the Oyo State Housing Corporation is providing thirteen (13) hectares of land for the scheme, while the developer will solely finance the entire project.

 

 

“The project will cost N2.5 Billion, and upon completion, the developers will recoup their finances when the houses are sold. We have seen the wisdom of getting contractors or developers to commit to projects by using their own monies to carry them out.

 

 

“Some people may wonder why we are starting off in the Ibadan Zone? Well, the need for an affordable housing scheme in Oyo State is clearly evident. Statistics show that the population of the capital city has been growing at over 2 per cent since 2018 with a peak of over 2.5 per cent in 2020. So, half of the population of Oyo State live in Ibadan Zone.

 

 

“But that the project is starting in Ibadan Zone does not mean that it will end here. Our plan is to replicate these housing units in other parts of Oyo State in the shortest possible time.”

 

 

He also charged members of the public who are interested in buying landed properties in Oyo State to patronize Oyo State Housing Corporation, adding that his administration will continue to operate an open-door policy.

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Similarly, while speaking at the flag-off of the renovation and remodelling of Agbowo Shopping Complex, Governor Makinde stated that the state will work in collaboration with Messrs Whitestone Global Ltd to convert the moribund facility into a premium commercial real estate and a 4-star hotel.

 

 

He said the collaboration will be in the form of a long lease concession for 50 years, with a capital injection of N4.9Billion, saying: “Our administration understands that the only business that the government should have in business is to create a conducive environment and the needed support for private enterprises to thrive. And this is what we are doing.

 

 

“You will readily agree that the injection of N4.9 Billion into the Oyo State economy is an economic stimulus in the short term which will translate to broader benefits in the long run.

 

 

“The process of selecting the concessionaires was also transparent. As everyone knows, the days of getting contracts from the government solely because a person knows the governor is in the past. I make bold to say that the PPP mechanism of the state has been re-engineered for effectiveness.”

 

The governor assured that shop owners in the complex would have the right of first refusal when the complex is finally remodeled.

 

 

He also promised to put up a revolving fund scheme to assist those who may not have the money to pay for the shops by the time the project is completed.

 

In his remarks at the two events, the chairman of the Oyo State Housing Corporation, Barr. Bayo Lawal, said the experience of the corporation in the past has not been palatable, stating, however, that the pains are gradually being addressed by Governor Makinde.

 

He also appealed to those desirous of owning lands in the state to approach the corporation for reliable landed property.

 

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Also speaking, the Managing Director, Remax realtors Limited, Adefunke Adesoji, said it was an honour to work with the Oyo State governor on the project, which was conceived as a public-private partnership.

 

 

In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Barrister Abiodun Abdulraheem and his counterpart in the Ministry of Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo, enjoined investors and residents of the state to key into the projects, which they described as a landmark initiative.

 

 

Also speaking at the handing over of Agbowo Shopping Complex, the Managing Director of Whitestone Global Ltd., Mr. Woleola Oluwole, said: “Today is indeed a great day and another landmark in the trending capacity of Oyo State. This is not surprising because we have a governor that is an honour to follow; we have a governor who is a father to watch. Here we are today marking another trend for others to follow.

 

 

“In this place today, as it is, in the next few months, we will know, indeed, that the God of heaven has smiled upon us and the rest of Oyo State.

 

 

“This facility, when completed, will have a time level car park that will double as a drive-in Cinema in the evening; a 10-floor first class hotel; 600 capacity 3D Cinema in the evening, an underground gaming arcade; what I call the 22nd-Century E-shopping Mall. All of these will be inside 25,000 square metres.”

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