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Thugs loyal to Gov Yahaya Bello behind attacks on Kogi REC, Kogi SDP alleges

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The Muri/Sam Campaign Council under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has condemned the assassination attempt on Dr. Hale Gabriel Longpet, the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state.

The Campaign Council and the party allegea1d that the attack was carried out by thugs loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.

In a statement issued by Isaiah Davies Ijele, the Director of New Media of the council acknowledged thatthe timely intervention of the Army, prevented potential tragedy.

The Council called for thorough investigation to fish out those involved in the assault on the INEC Resident Commissioner.

The Council also demanded swift action from the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, urging impartiality and caution against targeting SDP members over the incident.

The statement reads:

”We strongly condemn the assassination attempt on the INEC Resident Commissioner for Kogi state, Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, which took place in Lokoja at approximately 2:00 am this morning, December 1st, 2023. The attack was carried out by thugs who are loyal to Governor Yahaya Bello.

”Election should not be treated as a war, nor should it be a matter of life and death. If the election was won fairly and transparently, then the legal process should be allowed to run its course without interference.

”However, it is unacceptable for thugs, in their high numbers yesterday, to be subject to fake protests, insisting that, on no account should forensic teams be allowed to do their jobs.

”We are grateful for the timely intervention of the Army, as the man and his family could have been wiped out overnight. The attackers also burnt his vehicles and took other valuables. This kind of behaviour is not acceptable in a democratic society.

”Those individuals who have been involved in these attacks on INEC REC must be held accountable for their actions. We call for all those who have been involved in the protests, inciting violence and making provocative statements, to be apprehended and brought to justice.

”The Kogi State Commissioner of Police Bethrand Onuoha must carry out his duties by arresting the culprits and holding them accountable. We also urge the Commissioner of Police to refrain from victimizing loyal members of SDP and focus on finding the actual offenders.

”We stand with Dr. Longpet and his family during this difficult time, and we will continue to work towards a peaceful and transparent electoral process.

”Murtala Yakubu Ajaka and his Party SDP are not protesting anywhere around the nation as we are already in court to seek redress, and as such; we call on Commissioner Bethrand Onuoha to arrest those protesters in the name of SDP and its Candidate Murtala Yakubu Ajaka if he’s an accomplice of the protest.”

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Kogi soon to enact HIV Anti-Stigma, Discrimination Law

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

KOGI State, in collaboration with Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) and other partners, is soon to enact a law criminalizing stigmatization and discrimination against Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PL-HIV) in the state.

Dr Abdulaziz Adams Adeiza, Kogi Commissioner for Health disclose this in his office during an advocacy meeting on the proposed HIV and AIDS Anti-Stigma and Discrimination Bill in Lokoja.

The Commissioner said that all the necessary state organs for the legislation were ready and waiting for presentation of the bill to the state House of Assembly.

He said that the Assembly Standing Committee on Health had expressed their readiness to consider the bill saying, “They are passionate about the bill and they are in fact, waiting for us to bring it.

“So, we need to sit down and look at the Bill together and see if it is what the state can consider as an Executive Bill.

“The immediate past governor and the current governor are people who are passionate about health. These two persons are personalally biased towards issues of health”, he said.

Dr Adeiza thanked INGRA and the collaborating partners for their effort at addressing issues of response to HIV/AIDS and people living with the virus in the state.

Addressing the Commissioner on the need for the law, Hamza Aliyu Executive Director, INGRA frowned at the pronounced cases of stigmatization and discrimination against PL-HIV in public health and Medical facilities.

He held that the current modalities where HIV response occurs as a “Stand-alone Service” in healthcare facilities were discriminatory adding that Government must therefore take immediate actions to integrate it into the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the facilities.

Aliyu disclosed that the state HIV response had made some progressive impact on achieving the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UN-AIDS) 95-95-95 targets.

He said that while progress has been made in the first 95 (knowing their status), challenges remain in getting people on and remaining on anti-retrovirals and eventually, achieving viral suppression.

The INGRA Executive Director said that either by omission or commission, the public sector coordinating entities were also perpetrating, not just individual stigma but community stigma which is affecting young people.

“We’re having public sector, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) structured stigma including the segregation of HIV units and the collection of biometric data that are preventing our people from staying on the second and third 95.

“All this put together, Honorable Commissioner, is breeding a culture of impunity in terms of not allowing our people to own up to their status because of the stigma that is attached to HIV.

And so, one of the things we think we can do for ourselves is to provide a legal framework to promote and protect the rights of those who are positive.

Also speaking earlier, Dr Ikemefuna Onyeadi of the Aids Health Foundation (AHF) called for domestication of the Federal Anti-Stigma and discrimination Law saying there was need to cascade the law down to Kogi “to give our people their rights and privileges.”

Pharm. Bernard Akpa, Associate Director, Center for Integrated Health Programme (CIHP), said PL-HIV in the state were not getting the best from the health facilities as a result of stigma and discrimination as he urged the the legislation be accorded priority attention. (Ends)

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Agric: Kogi Govt pledges support for Smallholder women farmers

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***promises mechanization of Agric. production activities.

By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

KOGI State Government under the leadership of Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo is poised to support and empower smallholder women farmers through mechanization to help attain food sufficiency in the state.

The state Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Timothy Ojoma disclosed this on Wednesday in Lokoja at the Presentation and Dissemination of Scorecard on Smallholder Women Farmers Access to Agricultural Inputs and Training in Kogi State.

The Programme was organized by Kogi chapter of Small-Scale Women Farmers in Nigeria (SWOFON) in partnership with Kogi State Budget Committee Group (BCG) with support from ActionAid Nigeria.

The Commissioner emphasized the crucial role of smallholder women farmers and the need to empower them as key players in the Agriculture sector.

“Government will continue to do everything possible to provide empowerment for women farmers in the bid to boost their productivity and income earnings.

“Efforts will also be made by the Kogi Government to encourage Small-Scale farming and mechanized Agriculture”, Ojoma said.

The commissioner also hinted that the state government would soon embark on biometric data capturing of all farmers in the state to ease decision making and access to the farmers in their numbers and categories.

He said that through such available data, it would be easier to know where, when, type and quantity of inputs needed by the farmers as he pledged government’s support for the women farmers.

Presenting the Scorecard, Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroots Advancement in Nigeria (INGRA) said government had made little or no impact on Smallholder Farmers in provision of Agricultural inputs.

According to him, Kogi State is always ranking highest on food inflation index in the country due mainly to lack of commitment on the part of government to assist smallholder farmers who produce over 70 per cent of food supply in the state.

He said that government had lost its relevance on agricultural production in the state due to a lot of reasons ranging from inadequate budgeting for the sector and non release of budgetary provisions to lack of extension services, inputs and training among others.

Mr Matthias Okpanachi, Chairman of Kogi Budget Committee Group (BCG) in his opening remarks underscored the critical importance of scorecard dissemination with focus on smallholder women farmers’ access to agricultural inputs and training in Kogi.

He noted that women farmers play pivotal roles in the nation’s Agriculture sector, contributing significantly to food security, rural development and economic growth but that in spite of these, they lack access to Agricultural inputs and training opportunities.

“By ensuring that small holder women farmers have equitable access to quality agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, tools and technologies, we can enhance their productivity, improve crop yields and ultimately boost their income levels”, Okpanachi said.

In her remarks, Hajia Rukayat Ahmed, Coordinator, Kogi Chapter of SWOFON, said the programme was targeted at boosting food security as well as alleviating poverty and hunger in Nigeria through analysis of the scorecard to chart the way forward.

She called on government at all levels to give priority attention to empowerment of women farmers through adequate and timely provision of Agricultural inputs and the needed training in agriculture to enable them make impact in food production.” (Ends)

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Editors Guild commends Educational Devt in Kogi

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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.
A member of the Nigeria Guild of Editors,
Mr Adebayo Bodurin has commended Kogi State Government over its commitment to the Educational development through upliftment of existing institutions and establishment of new ones.

Bodurin made the remark on Saturday in Lokoja during a tour of on-going and completed projects by the present and immediate past administration in the state.

The Editor who was speaking after inspection of the GYB Model Science Secondary School, Adankolo, poured encomiums on the State Government for the feat attained in educational advancement of the state.

“For me, I believe in education. And I believe that is where the future of the country is. When we have educated people, we will be able to have knowledge to solve our problems.

“This is a bold initiative. I’m happy that they said they are for. I do hope that in future that each local government will be able to have structures of this nature.

“And we will be at the forefront of producing future scientists, technologists, that will help our country to less its dependence on other nations”, he said.

Briefing newsmen at the Ganaja Junction Flyover, the state Commissioner for Works, Engr Mohammed Yusuf said the Ganaja Junction Flyover project was part of the GYB Mega Legacy Projects.

The Commissioner who was represented by Engr Akubo Alhassan, Deputy Director, Civil Engineering, Ministry of Works, said, “This project was conceived and fully funded by the immediate past governor.

“The necessity of this project is that when you pass here before now, it was characterized by gridlocks at peak hours of, 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm.

“We have occasions of patients dying in the gridlock on their way to the hospitals, but the immediate past governor in his wisdom decided to resolve this conflict and gridlock permanently.

“When you come here now, the conflict has been resolved, there is free flow of traffic and it may interest you to know that this is the first ever flyover in Kogi State.

He said that apart from the Flyover, government also overlayed the dual carriage way from the Flyover to Zenith Bank Junction.

He added that though a Federal road, His Excellency intervened in overlaying the road from the Ganaja bridge through Dunamis Church to the flyover.

The Commissioner said that the State Government had done five other township roads, including from GYB Model Science Secondary School School to Zenith Bank Junction, Dunamis through Federal University.

There is another from Sadauna Junction through Maigari Palace. That is our escape route in the event of flood. Then Adankolo UBA to Adankolo Estate.

Just this one, Government House Junction to the flyover. It’s part of the facelift his excellency has given to the state headquarters.

Phase two, phase one, phase three road construction is going on there. Some have been completed and some are at various stages of completion.

As we go to Osara, you will see Zone 8 Runabout through CBN to Crusher. It’s ongoing. Zone 8 runabout through the Chari-Maigumeri Barrack to Zango to GYB Junction. Works are on-going there simultaneously.

Meanwhile, the tour continues to Kogi West Senatorial District and other parts of the state. (Ends)

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