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Atiku writes UK, US others over Onnoghen’s suspension

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The opposition People’s Democratic Party presidential Candidate and former Vice president of Nigeria Atiku Abubakar has petitioned the United Kingdom, United State of America, France and Germany over the suspension of Walter Onnoghen as Nigeria’s chief justice.

“I have chosen to write this letter to Your Excellency for the enviable role that your country plays as champion of Democracy and the Rule of Law,” Abubakar wrote in the letter on Tuesday.

“As a Presidential Candidate in the forthcoming General Elections that will be conducted and supervised by the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

“I feel the urgent need to share with you some of these key violations of the provisions of our constitution and to demand that you pile pressure on the Federal Government to desist from these violations and ensure a level playing field for the General Elections that are only a couple of weeks away.

Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari on Friday swore in Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed as the new acting Chief Justice of Nigeria to replace embattled Onnoghen.

His swearing-in followed Onnoghen’s suspension by the president, who acted based on an order by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Onnoghen is facing a six-count charge of non-declaration of assets when he became the chief justice of Nigeria. Buhari said the allegations against Onnoghen were “grievous enough”.

Onnoghen’s suspension sparked reactions from Nigerians including the U.S. and Uk government

Uk noted that the “timing of this action, so close to national elections, gives cause for concern.”

“It risks affecting both domestic and international perceptions on the credibility of the forthcoming elections,” the statement read.

“We, along with other members of the international community, are following developments closely,” the statement read.

While the United State, on the other hand, said it “is deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.”

“We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of the government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful.”

The Nigerian government said the reactions of the two countries were hasty.

The government said it would welcome partnerships for successful 2019 general elections but would not condone unfair interference in matters that are specifically internal.

“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,”  presidential spokesman Garba Shehu said in a statement on Monday.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections,” he added

But the former Vice president in his letter insisted that the “attempt to muscle out the Chief Justice of Nigeria using phoney charges at a time when His Lordship was primed to play a central role in the fast-approaching nationwide electoral process represents the boldest steps in the march to undermine our democracy,”

“This is undoubtedly an anti-democratic act which my political Party and I reject without reservation and for which I urge Your Excellency to condemn unequivocally,” he added

Abubakar affirmed that the “brazen authoritarian and imperious stride of the President Buhari is the latest action in a series of carefully planned onslaught on our nation’s hard-earned democracy by an extremely power hungry and anxious President and the cabal that feeds fat around him as February 16, 2019, draws nearer.”

Nigerians will be heading to poll less than a month from now to vote in a new president.

Buhari is seeking re-election with Abubakar mounting a strong challenge.

Abubakar, a former vice president during the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999 till 2007, is contesting the office of the president for the fourth time.

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Construction of Local Content Board Headquarters, a Token of Redemption for Niger Delta Region – Ekon

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Chairman House Committee on Local Content and Member Representing Abak/Etim Ekpo/Ika Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ekon, has described the ongoing construction of a 17 floor head office building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Bayelsa State, as a token of redemption for the Niger Delta region.

Speaking alongside a cross section of the Committee Members at a Transformation Leadership and Management Workshop organized by the Management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, the lawmaker stated that he was “pleased that a token of redemption is risen in the Niger Delta region with the presence of the new headquarters building of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board”.

The landmark edifice located at the Bayelsa State Capital, Yenagoa, handled by Megastar Tech and Construction Company is one of several flagship projects of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) and part of his committee’s repositioning of the local content board as a hub for industrial revolution and job creation.

While on a tour of the construction site, the lawmaker expressing satisfaction with the level of work done within the stipulated time frame by the contractor and commended the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) for making sure the project meets specification. He stated that with a renewed vision, the board is energized to deliver on its constitutional mandate to the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.

Ekon further added that upon completion, the local content board will have a functional administrative headquarters and also bring the board closer to the Niger Delta region which is the mainstay of oil and gas explorations in Nigeria. He said the Local Content Board has come off age and urged other federal agencies to emulate the board by relying on indigenous companies to executr projects of this magnitude.

The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote, who took the lawmakers round the project site, reiterated the lawmaker’s position that the decision to embark on the building a 17-storey head office building was to create an enabling environment for Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) to concretise their administrative base in the Niger Delta region.

It was gathered that the project which is the first of its kind in the Niger Delta is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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Ekere to build new mechanic village in Uyo

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The Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Obong Nsima Ekere, has promised to establish a new mechanic village in Uyo, the state capital, if elected Governor on Saturday.

Speaking during a visit to the mechanic village located at Afaha Offot in Uyo on Thursday, Obong Ekere said the proposed mechanic village will be patterned after what is obtained in advanced countries of the world.

He decried the deplorable state of the present village, established more than 30 years ago, and promised to construct an access road to the village immediately after his inauguration on May 29, 2019.

The APC standard bearer criticised Governor Udom Emmanuel for failing to fulfill the promise he made, four years ago, to reconstruct the village and for coming recently to again deceive the occupants of the village after failing to ameliorate their suffering for nearly four years.

“Akwa Ibom State does not need a lying Governor. That is why we are embracing change. Change has come to Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom State is getting to the next level,” he said.

Obong Ekere charged the technicians in the Mechanic Village to protect and follow their votes to the collation centres.

Senator John Udoedehe, a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, who is an indigene of Afaha Offot, wondered why Governor Udom Emmanuel came to campaign in the Mechanic Village after failing to fulfill his promise to develop the village made four years ago.

“Any government that looks down on mechanics, that government is a fool because you are the employers of labour. Nsima Ekere’s government will retrain and equip you. I want you to be agents for Nsima Ekere because Nsima Ekere is your future. Politics is a game of development. If Udom had performed, we would have nothing to campaign with,” he said.

Senator Udoedehe commended Obong Ekere for awarding a contract for the expansion of the internal roads in Afaha Offot and condemned Governor Emmanuel for refusing to equip the Primary Health Centre which he attracted to the village.

He said that he had also attracted an electrification project from the Ministry of Niger Delta to Afaha Offot.

Atuekong Don Etiebet, the Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State APC Caucus, described Obong Ekere as a quality person who will turn the mechanic village to a quality place.

He predicted total victory for the APC in the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.

Comrade Ufot Eno, the Secretary of the Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Mechanic Village, Uyo, Branch, who represented the Chairman, said Obong Ekere would be elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, come rain come shine, disclosing that President Muhammadu Buhari won in the Mechanic Village polling unit during the February 26, 2019 election.

Mrs. Iniobong Ekanem, the Women Coordinator of NATA, Mechanic Village Branch, predicted victory for Obong Ekere and appealed to him to build what she called “a digital mechanic village” when he becomes Governor.

Eteidung David Etuk, the Village Head of Afaha Offot, who was present during the visit, thanked Obong Ekere for constructing roads in the village during his tenure as the Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and expressed the belief that the APC standard bearer will transform the Mechanic Village if elected Governor.

He assured Obong Ekere of the votes of Mechanic Village and the larger Afaha Offot Village, adding that they had a stake in Obong Ekere’s incoming government through Senator Udoedehe, an insider.

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Girls are no longer victims but survivors – Eno-Obong Nkereuwem

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An emerging social crusader and girl rights advocate, Ms. Eno-Obong Nkereuwem has said that girls are no longer victims but survivors who remain resilient in the face of daunting challenges.

Narrating a story of her recent work with Smartmothers Foundation – an Akwa Ibom based NGO that aims to educate 3,000 students on sexual education and reduce the menace of teenage pregnancy across high schools, she wrote on her timelime:

“Barely less than a week after joining Smartmothers Foundation founded by Sifon Udo, I was handed my first challenge of coordinating an outreach. I was initially jittery for two reasons. Firstly, I had never coordinated an outreach of this sort, and secondly, the timing for me was quite ‘short’.”

“Buoyed by my passion, I knew this was a project that must happen. Sadly, the narrative around the girl-child has been demeaning and sometimes, hurting. And maybe I’m convinced it’s time to challenge this norm and recognise the place of the girl-child. I have been pondering well on this.”

“It touches my humanity that young schoolgirls are subjected to various degrees of abuse for things they cannot control while the society continues to look away. She reaches puberty and because she cannot afford pad, she becomes vulnerable to men who entice them with ‘money’ and most times lure them to bed resulting in teenage pregnancy. It’s a simple but dehumanizing cycle!”

“We live in a society that distributes free condoms instead of teaching young people to appreciate their sexuality and stay away from early sex. But can’t the society donate free pads to teenage girls? Can’t the society initiate stronger policies that protects the girl-child and reduce the menace of teenage pregnancy across high schools in Akwa Ibom State? The questions are endless!”

“But in of all these, young girls must develop their capacities and realise that we’re no longer victims but survivors who remain resilient in the face of daunting challenges.”

“Thank you Mr Gideon Ekanem
Thank you Smartmomsfoundation for believing in me to deliver.”

“SESEP was a success and we have GOD to thank for that.”

She called on well-meaning Nigerians to join the movement and donate pads to support the cause.

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NGO Targets 3,000 Students on Sex Education, Teenage Pregnancy in Akwa Ibom

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Smartmothers Foundation, an NGO based in Akwa Ibom State, on Tuesday said it had concluded plans to educate 3,000 students on sexual education and reduce the menace of teenage pregnancy across high schools in Akwa Ibom State.

The NGO disclosed this in a flyer exclusively obtained by Akwa Ibom INFO on its Sex Education Sensitization Programme organised for teenage students of Community Comprehensive Secondary School, Four Towns Uyo, tagged: “Sex Education is the Right of Every Teenager”.

The Program Director, Ms Eno-Obong Nkereuwem said that the sensitization programme is aimed at interfacing with young school children to reduce teenage pregnancy and also enlighten them on the basics of sex education.

Meanwhile, Akwa Ibom INFO learnt that the the founder of the NGO, Sifon Udo is targeting at empowering 3,000 teenage students in select schools across three Akwa Ibom senatorial zones.

According to her, pre-marital pregnancy in Nigeria is the highest in sub-Sahara Africa and is mostly prevalent amongst teenage girls in high school.

“The event slated for tomorrow, 28th February, 2019, will educate over 1000 teenagers and share pads to 200 vulnerable female students who cannot afford it and as a result resort to sex in order to get one”.

“Most young girls resort to sleeping with their peers or older men to give them money to buy pad. We are sharing the pads to them and giving them other options of getting pads instead of sleeping around.

“We are also educating young girls, ladies in particular and the public, about menstrual hygiene as well as breaking the stigma, clarifying myths and misconceptions around menstruation.

“There will also be pep talks on girl child empowerment, self esteem and confidence as a tool for nation building and donation of free sanitary pads and other hygiene products.

“Providing sanitary pads to young girls in schools will go a long way in supporting and dissuading them from keeping unhealthy relationships with the opposite sex. There’s reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy.” Eno-obong said.

Sifon stressed the urgent need for government at all levels to incorporate sex education into the school curriculum, so as to extend this sustainable value to teenagers in other schools in Nigeria.

The foundation calls on individuals and organizations to donate sanitary pads to support vulnerable teen girls in schools.

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