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SERAP calls for improvement in living standards

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Wednesday called on the Federal Government to improve the living conditions of people in Niger Delta.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a member of SERAP, Dr Olubunmi Afinowi, gave the advice in Ikeja.

She spoke at an interactive session on “Promoting Transparency and Accountability in the Use of Public Funds in the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria.”

The session featured launch of a report entitled “We Are All Vulnerable Here: How Lack of Transparency and Accountability is Fuelling Human Rights Violations in Niger Delta.”

Afinowi, who presented an 82-page report at the event, said that  communities in Niger Delta remained in squalor, poverty and environmental degradation.

She said, “Corruption contributes to poverty and consequential suffering of many people in the Niger Delta.

“The right of the people to a clean, safe and healthy environment is routinely violated.

“Extensive social, economic and environmental degeneration has largely affected the lifestyles and wellbeing of the people of Niger Delta.”

Rights campaigner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria,  Mr Femi Falana, urged the Federal Government to release the report of the forensic audit of the  Niger Delta  Development Commission.

According to him, the release will enable the oil producing community to demand accountability from contractors who collected huge funds and abandoned development projects in the region.

Among those  who attended the report launch are the Speaker of Cross Rivers  House of Assembly, Mr John Etim; Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission represented by Dr Grace Chinda; and the Executive Secretary of The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative  represented by its Team Lead (Advocacy), Mr Kareem Lamidi.

Also in attendance were Mrs Dina Sabi, Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Netherlands to Nigeria;  Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms represented by Mr Egbe Ekpe, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice represented by Mr Raji Rasaki.

Other participants include media professionals, Madam Florence Kayemba, Stakeholder Democracy Network;  Executive Secretary, Nigerian Human Rights Commission represented by Mr Saliu Musa, and  representatives of communities in the Niger Delta.

The participants expressed commitment to ensuring  full implementation of the recommendations contained in the report.

The research for the report was conducted under Niger Delta Project supported by Ford Foundation.

The report read in part, “While the oil and gas upstream operations span the entire Niger Delta region, the empirical study in this research focused on Delta, Bayelsa and Rivers states.”

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Unite against plastic pollution: HOMEF’s World Earth Day message

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In observance of the 2024 World Earth Day, the Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), a non-governmental organization, has rallied for a unified effort to combat the pervasive issue of plastic pollution plaguing the planet.

HOMEF’s media officer, Kome Odhomor, issued a statement in Yenagoa emphasizing the necessity of concerted action to eliminate the scourge of plastics and preserve the well-being of all life forms. Dr. Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director of HOMEF, echoed this sentiment, urging individuals worldwide to actively safeguard the environment within their local communities.

“Today presents a critical juncture where we must choose between the sustenance of our planet and the proliferation of plastics,” remarked Dr. Bassey. “While the allure of convenience may tempt us towards plastic usage, we must prioritize the health of our planet, which sustains all life forms. Failure to do so could lead us down a path of plastic dependency, resulting in dire consequences for our health, climate, and the overall ecological balance.”

HOMEF emphasized the imperative to recognize World Earth Day as a poignant reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the Earth. This year’s theme, “Planet Vs Plastic,” underscores the urgent need to forge a sustainable future for humanity, wildlife, and natural ecosystems.

“Our addiction to single-use plastics is suffocating the planet,” stated HOMEF. “These non-biodegradable materials persist indefinitely, clogging our environment and posing grave threats due to their chemical composition. The rampant production of plastic, coupled with dismal recycling rates, underscores the magnitude of the challenge we face.”

Acknowledging global efforts to reduce plastic consumption, HOMEF commended initiatives advocating for a 60 percent reduction in plastic usage by 2040. Additionally, the organization stressed the importance of embracing sustainable alternatives to mitigate the adverse effects of plastic pollution.

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IGP wants NSCDC, FRSC merged with police

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The Inspector General of Police, Mr Kayode Egbetokun, has advised the Federal Government to merge the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) with the police for effectiveness.

Egbetokun said this at the National Dialogue on State Policing, organised by the House of Representatives on Monday in Abuja with the theme “Pathways to Peace: Reimagining Policing in Nigeria”.

The I-G, represented by the Assistant Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Mr Ben Okoro, said that the NSCDC and the FRSC were a duplication of the police.

Egbetokun also said that Nigeria was not ripe enough for state police urging those calling for state police to work toward merging the NCDSC and the FRSC with the police for effectiveness.

He said the police were battling with inadequate training as well as lack of adequate manpower.

He said that most police barracks had dilapidated due to lack of maintenance and renovation.

“This has have a negative impact on the performance of the policemen,” he said.

Egbetokun also faulted calls for state police saying that Nigeria was not matured enough for state police.

He added that state police would create avenues for state governor to use it to suppress the opposition in their states.

He said creating state police would also lead to the problem of jurisdiction, which would bring about conflicts of interest.

He added that the state police would not be able to combat terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry, because they required enormous resources to combat.

He also said that there was a need to improve the training of personnel to enable modern policing, adding that funding was necessary to also help maintain internal security.

The Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, said that there was need for comprehensive and effective security framework to tackle rising security challenge in the country.

Musa, represented by Maj. Gen. Kunle Ariyibi, said that the security and safety of the country was paramount.

“I is imperative that we come together to find sustainable solutions.

” It is through collaboration and a shared commitment to the common good that we can develop policies and strategies that will enhance the security infrastructure of our dear nation,” he said.

Musa said it was imperative to create a security framework that would be inclusive, responsive, and capable of safeguarding the rights and freedoms of all Nigerians.

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Tinubu appoints Agama as SEC DG

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Mariga Aliyu Katuka as the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The SEC is the main regulatory institution of the Nigerian capital market and supervised by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Ajuri Ngelale, said in a statement on Friday in Abuja his principal also appointed Mr. Emomotimi Agama as the Director-General of the commission.

Also appointed into the board of SEC are Frana Chukwuogor, Executive Commissioner (Legal and Enforcement), Mr. Bola Ajomale, Executive Commissioner (Operations), Mrs. Samiya Hassan Usman, Executive Commissioner (Corporate Services), Mr. Lekan Belo, Non-Executive Commissioner and Mr. Kasimu Garba Kurfi, Non-Executive Commissioner.

“The President anticipates that all members of the Board of this critical commission will bring to bear their wealth of experience and competence in advancing the commission’s core mandate of developing and regulating a capital market that is dynamic, fair, transparent, and efficient, to bolster investor confidence and contribute immeasurably to the nation’s economic development,” the statement added.

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