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NDDC steps up creation of 5,000 jobs





The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has finalised plans to set up training programmes that would ensure the creation of jobs for women and youths in the oil-rich region. The NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, outlined the plans on Wednesday at the flagoff ceremony of the 6th Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) and NDDC Skill Acquisition Training for Niger Delta Youths in Owerri, Imo State. Ekere, who was represented by the Executive Director (Projects), Engr. Samuel Adjogbe, said that 5,000 youths and women from the Niger Delta would benefit from a massive skill acquisition programme billed to start from the first quarter of this year in the nine states of the Niger Delta.

The NDDC had earlier signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) and Builders Hub Impact Investment Programme (BHIIP) for the establishment of Nigeria’s first and grandest enterprise innovation and growth hub. The NDDC Chief Executive Officer promised that the enterprise hub would be up and running in the shortest possible time, noting that it would help to create more jobs and fight unemployment to ensure that militancy was eradicated in the Niger Delta. Ekere said that President Muhammadu Buhari directed the commission to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that Niger Delta youths and women were gainfully and profitably engaged and empowered for a sustainable livelihood.

“This is precisely what we are doing. This is exactly what we will do with an increased tempo this year,” he said. On the Home Finishing Skills training, he explained that it would cover key specialisations such as welding and fabrication; modern printing technology; solar power technology; maritime technology; entrepreneurship development; food processing, catering and confectioneries; creative arts and entertainment, as well as fashion design and tailoring.

Ekere noted that the four-week training in partnership with ESI, a non-governmental organisation, was a significant development, not just for the construction industry in the Niger Delta, but in Nigeria. He declared: “The skill gap in quality finishing of homes, offices and other building projects, has remained a yawning and a constant source of concern for home owners and operators in the construction industry.

In most cases, the standard of finishing of homes and offices is so poor that builders and homeowners resort to hiring skilled tradesmen and craftsmen from neighbouring countries and even beyond. “This is one of the reasons we have decided to intervene in this sector of the construction industry, in furtherance of our mandate on human capital development.

This programme, therefore, seeks to develop and deliver training, under the supervision of world class experts from United Kingdom, for 100 qualified participants, in the first instance.” Ekere listed the skill areas for the programme as POP ceiling installation; wall screeding and painting; floor plumbing; electrical wiring; specialized carpentry such as wardrobes and kitchen cabinets, as well as interior decoration.

He stated that the training in different fields would be based on the requirements taken from relevant United Kingdom occupational standards and associated qualifications, which would be contextualized to meet the requirements in Nigeria.

In her remarks before the flag-off, the wife of the Imo State Governor,Mrs. Nneoma Okorocha, stressed the importance of empowerment, noting that “if you empower a woman, you empower a nation.” She added that empowerment was the only way we could get it right in Nigeria.

Okorocha thanked the NDDC and other development partners for promoting programmes that impacted positively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians. Also speaking, the founder of ESI, Mrs. Judith Ameachi, remarked that women were a formidable force and, as such, should be at the centre of skills training meant to elevate the less privileged in the society. According to her, for over a decade, ESI had engaged in capacity building of youths and women, stating that: “Our mission is to tackle poverty head on and provide sustainable livelihood for our people.”

She observed that ESI has so far trained 3,000 Niger Delta indigenes in various capacity building programmes. “We are essentially a charity and nongovernmental agency. Our goal is to empower youths and women. The four-week training on Home Finishing, skills training programme will be handled by experts from the Dudley College of Technology, United Kingdom.”

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Jonathan warns Buhari against rigging Ekiti poll



Former President Goodluck Jonathan has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against succumbing to pressure to subjugate democracy by rigging the Ekiti State governorship election, in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC), stating that such action would haunt him at the end of his tenure.


Dr. Jonathan also advised him against bowing to any such pressure to use presidential powers negatively, but urged President Buhari to use his powers to strengthen democracy in Nigeria. The former President, who gave this advice during the inauguration of the first over-head bridge in Ado- Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, warned that President Buhari would be haunted by posterity if he does “because what you go with is the name that you leave behind.”


His words: “I don’t believe anybody can defeat the PDP in Ekiti if election is going to be held. I want to advise President Buhari not to deploy power to truncate Ekiti election. Though as a President, you have the power, but don’t do that because of posterity. History will record whatever you do and the power of a leader is determined after leaving office and not when he is in the office.


“The will of the people must be allowed to stand at all times, because power belongs to them and we must respect their verdict through the ballots. I am using this opportunity to call on Mr. President. I was there, and


I know (that) when you are there, there is so much pressure from everybody to use all the powers you have to subjugate democracy,” he said. He, therefore, called on Buhari not to bow to pressure by attempting to subjugate democracy in Nigeria, as doing that would amount to undermining the country’s path to greatness.


Jonathan said that advanced countries of the world today achieved greatness from the selfless sacrifices made by both leaders and followers. Part of the sacrifices, he said, made by their leaders includes not interfering with the democratic process that brings in successive leaders into office.


“All the great democracies you are seeing in the world, those great countries were built by people who made sacrifices to make their countries great.” Jonathan also used the opportunity to commend Nigerian youths whom he described as great and hardworking people. Although he admitted that the youths were confronted with challenges, especially not being encouraged with creativity, he called on governments at all levels to encourage them to be hard-working. He further stated: “We have challenges – no power for creativity. With the limits we have, we know the great things you are doing.”


The former President expressed optimism that with the level of support by the people, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is a party to beat in the forthcoming election. Jonathan further called on Ekiti people to vote for the PDP in the July 14 governorship polls even as he thanked them for their support to Governor Ayodele Fayose. He commended PDP for choosing youthful governorship candidate and his running mate, adding: “Nigerian youths are not lazy. I don’t believe that, because I have worked with them closely.

They are great people with great potential who should be celebrated by any leader.” In a veiled reference to Buhari’s recent statement abroad, he said “As leaders we must make sure we present a country that will make us proud and not to use our country as a negative example in Africa to the outside world.


The idea of portraying Nigerians’ negative manners had occurred on two occasions under this present government. These are mistakes we should not make.” He thanked the people for their support for the PDP since 2015 and urged them to do more in the coming governorship election.


“Fayose will never compromise the interest of Ekiti people for anything. He is a leader who speaks truth to power. In fact, Fayose is a leader and he has done well for his people. Any leader who wants to encourage his people must encourage the education of the youth. If you don’t encourage the youths, they will be exploited. “As youths, you have to be aware that we are operating a knowledge-based economy. So you must be proficient in the use of computer. You can’t compromise this if you want to fit into the 21st  century economy,” he said.

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Nigeria more transparent under Buhari –Lai Mohammed



Solicits TI’s support on anti-graft war


The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said Nigeria is more transparent under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. The Minister said this to a delegation of Transparent International (TI) led by its Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio, who visited him in Abuja, saying President Buhari’s  administration is committed to eradicating corruption in the country. “Nigeria has never had a more transparent and more accountable government than the Buhari’s administration,” the Minister said.


He regretted that TI and the local civil society organisations affiliated to it have not offered the necessary support to the Federal Government in its anti-corruption war. The Minister, therefore, called on TI to support Buhari’s ant-corruption war, especially in the area of advocacy and capacity building. He noted that when the government disclosed that 55 people stole N1.34 trillion between 2006 and 2013, a section of the civil society alleged that the publication was one-sided, instead of supporting the govern  ment’s action.


He tasked TI and its affiliates to show more understanding for the sociological complexities of fighting corruption in Nigeria since the nation operates a federal system of government. The Minister said Nigeria is succeeding in its anti-corruption fight because the fight is led by a President, whose integrity is beyond reproach, noting that his worst critics won’t say he indulges in or encourages corruption.


Earlier, Ms Ferreira Rubio had told the minister that her visit to Nigeria, which incidentally was her first in Africa, because the country can set the tone for the continent in the fight against corruption.


She added that TI’s mandate is to offer support through civil society organisations and the private sector to foster the fight against corruption. Ms Rubio advised that while the government is doing a lot to fight corruption, it should ensure more transparency and more efficiency in service delivery.


“We are not an opposition anywhere in the world. We are just an NGO working in over 100 countries of the world. We are not enemies. We are here to help,” she said.

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Woman appeals to IG over missing husband



She should check SARS –PPRO


Mrs. Adeshina, wife of a Lagos State politician, Mr. Okokuku Adeshina, has called on the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris (IGP), to warn and caution his officers as not only her husband’s life is in danger but all. Tina, who spoke with journalists over the weekend, said Idris should compel his officers and men to stop being instruments in the hands of politicians who use them to harass their opponents.


The distraught woman disclosed how some policemen stormed their house at Ikorodu area of the state on Tuesday evening, and without any search warrant, and whisked her husband away to an unknown destination.


According to her, she said her husband called her with an unknown number two days after he was whisked away by the policemen, who wore antirobbery jackets over the mufti clothes, and told her to run far away with the children.


She said, her husband told her that it was a political big wig in the state that was behind his present travails in order to win him over to his camp. “My husband called me with an unknown number and said I should take the children to a safe place that the policemen that came to arrest him on the pretence over land dispute are actually working for an opposition politician who wants him to join his party,” she lamented.


“Yesterday, an unknown number called me again and I quickly answered thinking it was my husband but the person on the line told me that my husband had escaped.


I haven’t been able to get through to him on his phone since the day he was taken away and the man that called claimed to be a policeman that helped him escape, while on their way to the hospital. I believe that my life and those of my children are now also in danger and I don’t want to die,” Mrs. Adeshina cried. However, when contacted, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chike Oti said, he was not aware of the arrest.


Oti, however, said Mrs. Adeshina should go to SARS office to check if her husband is there. It is only when she has done this that he would then know what to do.

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