An NGO, Centre for Advocacy of Justice and Rights (CAJR), has trained 60 women and youth as advocates for peace and social cohesion in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau.
The training, according to Miss Etty Peter, Executive Director of the organisation, was funded by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Nigeria Early Recovery Initiative (NERI).
She explained that the initiative was committed to connecting communities that were separated from each other as a result of years of violent conflicts between Fulani herders and Berom natives.
She added that the activity christened “Cash-for-Work”, would break the “no-go-area” syndrome in the locality and the state in general.
Peter said the participants were selected from three communities within the locality, adding that lessons learned would be replicated in other parts of the state.
“In this project, we brought together 60 women and youth comprising both the Berom natives and the Fulani.
“We also brought in other ethnic nationalities across Zargwom, Kaching and Ruku communities in the local government.
“The project enables them to work in public facilities like clinics, primary schools, markets, houses of traditional rulers and religious leaders in their communities.
“Under this programme, they can access places that were not mutually accessible to each other due to the lingering conflict in the locality.
“The beneficiaries have been trained through series of workshops and have carried out some practical works in their communities as a way of promoting social cohesion.
“At the end of the activity, participants will be paid stipends in order to improve their livelihoods,” she said.
Peter disclosed that the NGO had worked with the beneficiaries in the areas of early warning signals, early response and protection aimed at promoting unity and security consciousness in the communities
In a remark, Mr Jock Alamba, Chairman, Management Committee of the council, thanked the NGO for playing key roles toward deepening peaceful coexistence in the area.
He commended the organisation for the gesture and expressed optimism that it would consolidate on the peace initiatives of government toward achieving lasting peace.
“We are happy that these efforts are bringing our communities back to the old glorious days of a united people.
“This humanitarian service you have delivered in Barkin-Ladi will benefit the world and we will be better off for it.
“It will go a long way in assisting government to interact with the communities because anytime a community becomes inaccessible, it becomes difficult for government to reach out to such community with developmental programmes
“Today, seeing both the Fulani and the Berom people working together is a thing of joy; few years ago, who would ever imagine this scenario?
“No one believed they could come together, not to talk of working together under a peaceful atmosphere like this.
“This is an indication that it is possible for us to go back to our old good days and give our children a better future filled with trust and love for one another,” he said.
The Chairman urged the beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of CAJR, the local government, their communities and immediate families.
He urged them to identify bad eggs likely to cause problems in their communities and report them to appropriate authorities.
Update: 2024 Appropriation Bill Passes Second Reading At House Of Reps
The House of Representatives has passed the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget for a second reading.
The House leader, Julius Ihonvbere, on Thursday, November 30, while leading the debate on the general principles of the budget, commended President Bola Tinubu.
Ihonvbere noted that national security and education which got significant allocations will be enhanced if implemented.
He said, “Nigeria will be more secure with the allocation to defence and security. As a teacher, I am impressed by the emphasis on basic education. I am sure that education will be better off this time.”
Tinubu Presents His First Budget As President On Wednesday
President Bola Tinubu will present the 2024 budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday.
This is according to a memo dated November 27, 2023, signed by the federal legislature’s Secretary of Human Resources and Staff Development, Shuaibu Maina Birma, on behalf of the Clerk to the National Assembly.
“I am directed to inform you that the 2024 Budget would be presented by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at the Joint Session of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 29th November, 2023,” it read.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council has approved a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion.
This followed the review of the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework earlier passed by the National Assembly which benchmarked the exchange rate at N700 to $1 and crude oil price at $73.96 cent per barrel.
Briefing State House Correspondents shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Abubakar Bagudu, said it revised the MTEF and the Fiscal Policy to use an exchange rate of N750 to $1 and also a benchmark crude oil reference price of $77.96 per barrel.
According to Bagudu, the FEC also approved an Appropriation Bill for 2024 with an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion, an increase of over N1.5 trillion from the previously estimated.
He also noted that using the old reference prices, the forecast revenue is now N18.2 trillion which is higher than the 2023 revenue, including that provided in the two supplementary budgets, in which the deficit is lower than that of 2023.
Senate Seeks Nigeria’s Inclusion In $147billion Global Bitumen Market
…passes Bitmen Development Commission Bill for second reading
The Senate Thursday made legislative move of including Nigeria in the $147billion global bitumen market with passage for second reading , a bill seeking for establishment of Bitumen Development Commission .
Nigeria as stated in the bill sponsored by Senator Jimoh Ibrahim ( APC Ondo South) , has quantum of 5.9trillion barrels ( 938billion m³) of global in – place Bitumen and heavy oil resources , second to Venezuela .
He specifically informed the Senate that more than 80% of the resources are found in Canada , United States of America , Venezuela and Nigeria .
But lamented that while other countries blessed with the Natural resources are exploiting it through required legislations or legal frameworks , Nigeria’ has no legal framework for such exploration with attendant untapped opportunities and huge market loss .
Therefore according to him, ” the objectives of the Bill includes: the need to develop a legal framework for the regulation of the Bitumen development in Nigeria; to prevent unconventional sources from taking advantage of research-enhanced applications over other competitors; and to lead innovation and resource-based strategy in the development of bitumen in Nigeria.
“The Bill will also ensure effective utilisation of over 38 billion reserve of bitumen in Nigeria; and to promote economic diversification policy of the Federal Government”.
He added that the Bill among other reasons, seeks to restrict the activities of the commission to its regulatory and cordinating functioons , specifically as it relates to the Develooment of Bitumen in Nigeria .
Ondo State alone according to him , has the highest deposit in Africa with an estimated value of $42billion which are aside from depisits in Ogun State , Edo , Lagos and Akwa- Ibom States .
” The proposed Bitumen Development Commission when established , would fastrack the development of Bitumen in Nigeria , make her a key player in the $147billion global market and create instant 12, 000 jobs for Nigerians .
” It would also help Government at various levels to put in place asphalted roads in various communities .
” Out of the 200, 000 kilometres of roads in Nigeria , only 20, 000 are asphalted even with imported Bitumen which is not good and being addressed with the proposed commission” he said .
Many of the Senators who contributed to debate on the bill , concurred with Jimoh Ibrahim’s submissions , making the Senate as put to voice votes by its President , Godswill Akpabio , passed it for second reading .
Akpabio who commended Senator Jimoh Ibrahim for sponsorship of the development – driven bill, mandated the Senate Committee on Solid Minerals to make further legislative inputs on it and report back in a month’s time .
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