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Naira crisis: Nigerians are suffering, make cash available, Labour Party urges, FG, CBN

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By Jeleel Olawale

The Labour Party’s candidate for the House of Representatives, Ife Federal Constituency, Mr. Olamide Awosunle has declared that Nigerians are currently facing serious hardship in the face of the naira redesign.

He said the hardship ordinary Nigerians are going through is enormous, saying the policy is good but not well managed because many Nigerians could not withdraw their money from banks.

Awosunle noted that the policy is a good one, to rescue Nigeria from corruption, but it is not well managed, stressing that what the government is doing is a good thing that would reduce monetization of the electoral process. It is a good policy but should be well managed so that Nigerians will not be the ones to bear the consequence.

“It will be beneficial to ordinary Nigerian in the end. The CBN governor had once said that there are about N3 trillion in circulation but what we have in banks is less than N2 trillion. It means some people have hoarded money. The government should manage it well.

“The timing is the most appropriate because what some greedy politicians relied on is how they are going to buy votes, and introducing this type of policy will tame rigging. So, it will reduce sharing of billions of naira”.

He said that Labour Party is not benefitting from the naira redesign, adding that it is a policy that will put the country’s electioneering system in proper shape. “Some people don’t want it to succeed, causing crisis and unrest in the country. The time is appropriate but the only problem is the management of the policy and there is no time government cannot initiate a policy.

” I want to implore the government to ensure that Nigerians don’t go through pains in the implementation of the policy. They should make money available for Nigerians, but less for politicians. No one can say if the banks have compromised the policy, but the government should be sincere in the implementation process.

Government should make the new currency available by bringing more money into circulation. They should ensure that banks are not allowed to sabotage the policy by sanitizing the electoral process. But what the government wanted to do is to ensure that there is sanity and sanctity in our electoral process”, Awosunle said.

Awosunle noted that if saboteurs in the presidency or banking sector are frustrating the process, it will eventually become a mirage. Money should be made available to ordinary Nigerians, not money-bag politicians because Nigerians are the ones suffering most so we don’t grand the economy.

“Any politician that feels that the policy is targeted at him, it shows that such a politician has skeleton in his cupboard. Those who say the policy is targeted at them, it means they are planning to buy votes. I believe that the policy is not targeted at anybody but I know that it will affect those who have a mission and vision to buy Nigerians.

“Labour Party is not affected but the only area it affected us is our inability to withdraw the little money we have to use to cater for our livelihood. So, we are not affected because we are not buying votes. We are not buying the electorate because we want to serve them. If we are buying them it means we are not going to serve them”, he averred.

Speaking on the recent judgment of the Federal High Court for granting Labour Party to substitute candidates to contest in some states, Awosunle described the judgment as victory for democracy, saying Labour Party is a party that will rescue Nigeria from its present state of underdevelopment. The court has mandated Independent National Electoral Commission to accept the Labour Party candidates in some states to contest.

“INEC has been compelled to put all LP candidates on its list and this is the beauty of democracy. The vote will now be counted as a result of the new electoral law. It has now been difficult to manipulate or cause crisis in an area during the election, see Osun state as an example.

” LP is a party to beat, a party of the people with competent and trusted members. LP will spring surprises, because many people see it as an underdog. It is the party today that truly defines democracy”, Awosunle declared.

Asked about the structure of the Labour Party, Awosunle said it is the people of Nigeria that constitute the structure of the party, adding that all parties are campaigning which shows that no party is independent of the electorate.

“The structure in which other parties have taken the country to nowhere but criminality, corruption, and crisis. Every Nigerian who is clamoring for a new Nigeria, quality leadership, and opportunities for all and not for few are the party’s structure.

He, therefore, urged the electorate to shun buying and selling of votes because President Mohammadu Buhari wants to eradicate electoral malpractices in the electoral system which has been achieving results.

“Electorate should secure their future by not selling their votes. They should allow peace to reign before, during, and after the election. The youths should take back their country to end poverty, unemployment, and japa syndrome”.

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Technology, key to growth in Niger Delta — NDDC MD

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The Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku, has emphasised the importance of technology in driving economic growth and social development in the Niger Delta region.

Speaking at the Port Harcourt Tech Expo 2024, Ogbuku, said it was necessary for the NDDC to collaborate with technology experts to impart skills to the youths and boost their chances of gaining employment in the field of technology.

The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that by sponsoring the Tech Expo, the Commission was demonstrating its commitment to fostering technological growth and development in the region.

He noted, “Technology is key to the future of the Niger Delta. The way technology is changing, it is only wise to change with the times and prepare for the future. We are ready to collaborate with relevant organisations to provide a training platform for our youths.

“We are already collaborating with the Rivers State Government to drive the Holistic Opportunity Project of Engagement, HOPE, project in the area of Information and Communication Technology, ICT.”

Ogbuku said that the Commission was revamping the Rivers State ICT Centre in partnership with the government to empower the youths with needed skills in the rapidly advancing technological era.

He said that the Commission would ensure that the facility was not just available but in top shape, ready to accommodate the anticipated vast number of participants in the Commission’s ICT hub and job creation initiative.

Ogbuku said further, “We need to build our youths and our children as well. We have acquired 45,000 U-lesson tablets for distribution to schools for the use of our children. We will launch the tablets and deploy them to schools across the region.”

The NDDC boss said that the world of tomorrow would be shaped by the designs and technologies emerging today.

“It is up to us, as individuals and organisations, to determine what happens next,” Ogbuku noted.

A keynote speaker and a Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA, Dr. Maurice Dawson, addressed the subject: “Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence.” He remarked that Nigeria was the fastest growing digital economy in Africa.

According to him: “Cyber Security is the act of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorised access or criminal use and the practice of assuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. In a world driven by computers and the internet, cyber security was very critical.”

In another presentation, a lead forensic examiner, Dr. Tombari Sibe, said that the landscape of cyber security was widening on a daily basis. Speaking on the topic; “Cyber Security; Emerging threats and countermeasures,” he noted that the global cost of cybercrime was rising exponentially, adding that it was a top risk threatening digital transformation in Nigeria.

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Again, fire razes four shops in Benin

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By Elvis Omoregie, Benin

Men of the Federal Fire Service, Edo State Fire Service, Nigerian Army School of Supply and Transport Benin, the University of Benin Fire Service (UNIBEN) and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), on Wednesday battled helplessly to put out a raging fire that razed four shops on the busy Ugbowo-Lagos road.

The fire incident was said to have started from one of the shops, dealing in Hospital and Laboratory equipment, and later spread to other shops within the building.

It was gathered that the fire incident occurred by 2pm and caused a lot of anxiety as residents and shop owners made frantic efforts to salvage the goods, while operatives of the different fire services were on ground to fight the fire, without any luck.

The correspondent who visited the scene of the inferno discovered that all four shops directly opposite the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) were completely razed in the inferno.

Speaking with one of the shop owners who operates a Boutique, Mr. Sunday Madubuko said about 2.45pm, a shop next to his was on fire, as he was told by the shop sales girl.

“The sales girl ran to my shop telling me that a fire was burning in our office, I told her I  don’t have a fire extinguisher. Before I knew it, the fire extended to my Boutique. All I  know is that the fire started from the Laboratory Shop and spread to other shops. The cause of the fire, I still don’t know. What I lost in the inferno is goods worth over N20,000,000,” Madubuko said.

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Okuama: Delta Gov. inaugurates IDP Mgt committee

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By Dave Okpogadie, Asaba

As a way of bringing succour to the displaced people of Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori on Wednesday inaugurated Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Management Committee.

The Committee has veteran journalist and former Editor of The Guardian Newspaper, Mr Abraham Ogbodo as Chairman, and Director of Personnel Management, DPM, Ughelli South Local Government Council, Chief Austin Emaduku as Secretary.

Other members include Senator Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Hon. Festus Utuama, Hon. Reuben Izeze, Dr Richard Kofi, Chief Oviri Uto, Hon. Josephine Oduaran, Obukohwo Henry Ediyo, Karo Ovemeso and Austin Ohwofaria who will serve as Camp Commandant.

Inaugurating the Committee at Government House Asaba, Governor Oborevwori charged the Committee to carefully plan the resettlement and rehabilitation of the innocent citizens of Okuama community.

Oborevwori said, “I welcome all of you to the inauguration of a Committee charged with the duty of planning and coordinating the settlement and rehabilitation of our people at Okuama.

“Much as we condemned in strong terms the dastardly act that took the lives of our gallant officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

“We will do everything we can to reduce to the barest minimum the attendant effects on the common man in Okuama community.

“Innocent people have been displaced, their homes and properties destroyed, this was, and still is, an unfortunate and most unexpected development.

“Like I said when I visited Okuama the other day, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and the military agreed that innocent people in Okuama should not be made to suffer needlessly.

“This is why we sincerely believe that sooner than later, the innocent ones will be allowed to return to their homes.

“It is now right for the government to set up a committee to plan their resettlement and rehabilitation ahead of their return. This is the minimum we owe our people, we have to reassure them to have a sense of belonging as we make adequate arrangements for their settlement and rehabilitation.

“Note that you have been carefully chosen based on your previous antecedents, we are therefore confident that you will do a transparent, thorough and selfless job that not only the people of Okuama but every Deltan will be proud of you as you make adequate arrangements of receiving them and lessening their pains.

He urged them to attach a sense of urgency to the assignment.

“We must demonstrate the highest degree of love and responsibility towards our people. That is the least we can do for them.”

Responding on behalf of members of the committee, the Chairman, Abraham Ogbodo, expressed appreciation to the governor for finding them worthy to serve in the committee.

He said their appointment into the committee was a call for service and assured the governor and Deltans that, by the grace of God, they would live up to expectation by delivering the needed services to the people.

According to him, members of the committee would work with the sense of urgency that the state assignment requires, assuring that they would be transparent, thorough and selfless in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Okuama.

Recall that Okuama is the community in Delta State where about 17 soldiers were ambushed and brutally murdered by criminal elements a few weeks ago.

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