Cholera in Kwara – An Environmentalist Perspective By Amusa Victor

It is a common scene in Kwara to see residents hurriedly dump refuse in drainages during heavy rainfall, sewage is also seen to flow out of broken chambers in densely populated areas across the state. Quite a number of houses are still without toilet facilities in the metropolis, as such open defecation remains the available option.

An epidemic is the spontaneous spread of infectious disease to a large number of people in a given population within a short period of time, usually two weeks or less. It is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time.

Cholera is a water-borne disease that emerges from a bacterium called Vibrio cholerae. Once someone contracts the disease, s/he can experience symptoms ranging from extreme dehydration to diarrhea, to vomiting.

Poor sewage treatment and lack of treatment of drinking water, a trademark challenge in most Nigerian states greatly facilitates the spread of cholera.

In August 2010: Cholera in Nigeria reached epidemic proportions after widespread confirmation of the disease outbreaks in 12 of its 36 states. 6400 cases were reported with 352 reported deaths. The health ministry blamed the outbreak on heavy seasonal rainfall and poor sanitation.

Cholera is not alien to Kwara State, late 2001 there was a similar outbreak, the cholera epidemic claimed at least 40 lives in five days, and another 22-people laid critically ill in hospital. In Moro Local Government Area ofKwara state, seven pupils of primary and post-primary schools were among the victims. All primary and secondary schools in the area were quickly closed indefinitely to avoid further spread of the disease.

Cholera is an acute intestinal infection that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea, leading to serious dehydration and can be fatal if not properly treated. However, if an infected person is given the proper fluids as soon as the first symptoms appear, the disease can be completely cured. A mixture of sugar and certain essential salts must be mixed with clean water and be taken in large quantities to replace the body fluid that is lost. If the patient is rehydrated as soon as possible, the death rate is less than one percent.

It is indeed worrisome that despite the simplicity of the cure, hundreds and sometimes thousands of people in Nigeria die every year from this disease. Access to clean water is a basic human necessity that is denied to 61 percent of Nigeria’s population.

From records, available on WHO website on cholera outbreak late in 2001, BodeSaadu, the district headquarters of Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State was worst hit with 124 reported cases and 16 deaths. According to Reuters report, at least 40 deaths were recorded in less than one week, when news of the outbreak of the water-borne disease was first broken on the floor of the Kwara State Assembly on Wednesday, October 24th, 2001, lawmakers were prompted to suspend the day’s session abruptly. It was widely reported that much more afflicted people were in critical condition in the worst-hit towns and villages of Jebba, Warafa, Eleja-Sulu, Ile-Pupa, Ekejo, Lasaki and Ejidongari.

Again in 2011, another cholera outbreak struck Ilorin the state capital.  The then Commissioner for Health, Mallam Abdul Kayode Issa, said the situation was under control.

He said that the Rapid Response Team of the Ministry had swung into action since when the case was first reported at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital.

He said the state government had made drugs available at the various Primary Health Care Centre in Ilorin East and West local governments and added that the ministry had put measures in place to prevent its spread precisely from Adabata and Okelele. a densely populated area of the state capital – Ilorin.

Just a few days back, June 2017, another outbreak in Ilorin was reported in the media with deaths numbering 12 in less than 5 days. Again, the government through the Secretary to the State Government,AlhajiIsiaka Gold, during an assessment visit to primary health care centers, cottage hospitals, and the General Hospital, Ilorin was out to say the government had deployed resources to ensure that cholera does not spread in the state. But this time around the people are not taking the blame alone, some people have blamed the outbreak on the heaps of refuse dumps in and around the city waiting to be evacuated by the authorities concerned. This points back to the matter of poor sanitation, lack of access to clean drinking water and the failures of residents to take cognizance of Food Hygiene.

It is worthy of note that street sweepers and scavengers pick waste plastic bottles from waste dumps and sell to merchants at popular markets across the metropolis, who in return sell same to makers of local beverages like Kunu and Zobo drink. Unfortunately, the public who have no idea of the source of plastic bottles used in packaging these beverages get exposed to high risk of contracting Cholera and other food hygiene related diseases.

Sanitation is the means of promoting hygiene through the prevention of human contact with dangers of waste especially sewage, by proper treatment and disposal of the waste, often mixed into wastewater. The resultant dangers may be physical, microbiological or biological agents of disease. The well-being of a Community cannot be separated from its attitude towards its Environment.  Indiscriminate disposal of waste, dumping of waste in drainages, unwholesome eating practices, and poor basic personal hygiene are the contributions of the residents to the cholera outbreak in Kwara State, Ilorin in particular.

The belief that government has to do everything for it citizens needs to be quickly eradicated, the environment is our common wealth, everyone is a stakeholder. We are all saddled with responsibilities of protecting our environment, our commitment to these responsibilities is not for the benefit of aliens but for our own common good.

It is of also of note that the Waste disposal infrastructure set in place by the government is grossly overstressed as the population of residents in the state is growing at alarming proportions due to the relative peace experienced over the years. The gap between the amount of waste generated in the metropolis and the amount effectively collected by the social waste operators and the commercial waste collectors is very wide as evident in the indiscriminate disposal of waste on curb sides and internal road network of Ilorin metropolis.

As a popular saying has it that prevention is better than cure, the government and its people need to put a stop to their blame games, everyone has a role to play. As a city develops it is expected that the municipal authorities need to put in place salient measures to handle the proper management of waste generated by residents. Some people have called for the establishment of a Waste Management Authority as is obtainable in other states.Others have argued that it is not about the proliferation of agencies of government but the resolve of the State Ministry of Environment to perform its statutory roles and put enforcement of environmental laws on the front burner. There must be policy reviews and ratification of sanctions commensurate with the effects of disobedience to environmental laws.

According to a Joint News Release by WHO/UNICEF in March 2008, sixty-two per cent of Africans do not have access to an improved sanitation facility — a proper toilet — which separates human waste from human contact, according to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation.

In fact, about 2.6 billion people around the world live without access to a toilet at home and thus are vulnerable to a range of health risks one of which is Cholera. Former World Health Organisation Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan once argued that Improved sanitation contributes enormously to human health and well-being. She further ascertained that simple, achievable interventions can reduce the risk of contracting diarrhea disease by a third.

Sanitation is considered as a cornerstone of public health. Poor sanitation, particularly in the context of urbanization, allows for sewage or waste to flow directly into streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands, affecting marine ecosystems, fouling the environment and exposing millions of children and adults alike to communicable diseases.

There cannot be any sustainable victory against epidemics like cholera without the active involvement of the Ministry of Environment alongside eagle-eyed response team from the Ministry of Health. For diseases such as cholera and other sanitation influenced diseases like Lassa fever, prevention is truly cost effective than management and cure.

The number of Social Waste Collectors engaged in waste disposal in Kwara state is too little to achieve much. Many thanks to the commercial waste collectors, the outbreak of other sanitation related diseases would have been of disastrous proportions. In other climes, the government supports private participation in environment-related matters as no effort is too minute, there must be a review of the policies surrounding registration of new entrants into the waste disposal sector of the Ministry of Environment.

The fees charged to register new players in the sector must be affordable enough to attract involvement of private entities, the Regulatory stand of the Ministry of Environment as regards the operation of both social and commercial waste collection operators across the state must be given a boost, erring operators must be sanctioned as a deterrent for laxity. The commercial waste operators should be supported by logistic and equipment loans payable at single unit interest rate, unscrupulous levies collected from waste disposal operators should be discouraged, as the government will only be doing itself and indeed its citizens quite a lot of favour by encouraging more private participation in waste collection and disposal across the state.

Advocacy campaigns shouldn’t be left till an outbreak occurs, it should be part of the responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Health to organize joint advocacy campaigns on public health issues and its preventions, adequate funding must be budgeted for public health interventions as epidemics come unannounced. The environment health officers squad of the Ministry of Environment must be reinfused with the drive to enforce environmental laws, house owners must provide decent toilet facilities, all private and public institutions of education must have decent toilet facilities.

The Kwara State Environmental Protection Agency must ensure relevant industries in the state have and maintain effluent treatment plants and not discharge their waste water into streams and rivers. Sanitation must take a whole new dimension in Kwara State to forestall the reoccurrence of an outbreak of Cholera and other related epidemics. In matters of the environment, everyone has a role to play, Government and Residents alike.

AmusaTemitope Victor is an Environmentalist, Social Entrepreneur and Zero-Waste Advocate. He is the Chief Executive Officer, Vicfold Recyclers- A Recycling Firm based in Ilorin Kwara State Nigeria, which Promotes Incentive Motivated Recycling. (www.vicfoldrecyclers.com). He can be reached on +23408107454031 or founders@vicfoldrecyclers.com

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Kwara Assembly Raising Bar Of Good Governance By Adebayo Abdullahi

When the 8th legislature of the Kwara state House of Assembly was inaugurated on Monday 8th June, 2015, following the proclamation by the state Governor Alhaji Abdul Fatah Ahmed, the current Speaker was unanimously elected to lead the 8th legislature.

Dr Ahmad, a former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice and former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, said the task ahead was daunting in view of the prevailing economic recession, unprecedented increase in youth unemployment, and security challenges bedevilling the nation.

The Associate Professor of Law said the first arm of government in the state under his watch had no option than to set agenda to be accomplished within the stipulated period to justify the confidence reposed in the All Progressives Congress populated House of Assembly.

LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

Dr Ahmad said as true representatives of the people who share the yearnings and aspirations of their various constituencies, the lawmakers must be creative in proffering short term solutions and enduring panacea to address their problems.

He promised to ensure that the Eighth Assembly under his watch, would not relent in providing platform for good governance and collaborate with the executive arm of government in ensuring protection of lives and property, ensure advancement of the people’s welfare and accelerate economic growth of the state.

The Speaker noted that the Eighth Legislature in the state, was unique as it a state House of Assembly without a single opposition. This, according to him, presents its own challenges of complacency, apathetic toleration and laid back attitude. He ,therefore ,stressed the need for the house to eschew drawback of consensus, saying that the consensus should be that the House was unified in ensuring transparency, as he said there should be no dissent in achieving the goal of accountability and good governance.

The legislature under the leadership of the Speaker assured that the House would be made to be a true House of people of all shades and orientation.

The head of the legislative arm of government in the state further promised to ensure that legislative intervention stimulate accelerated economic growth and development, pointing out that they would carry legislative assignments with thoroughness and dedication, fast track robust public hearing on all issues where stakeholders will have meaningful impact on how government function and collaborate with the state governor to quickly enact laws that would further rid the state of miscreants, drug addicts and cultists.

This write up therefore intends to examine the extent to which the 8th Legislature under the watch of an Associate Professor of Law and Lawmaker per excellence has been people oriented; to what extent has it been able to perform its constitutional responsibility of serving as the conscience of the people; check  the executive arm of government and provide platform for good governance in the state or better put, examine the extent to which the current legislature which is now mid way in its tenure attains it’s set goals and what legislative interventions have been provided by the current legislature to consolidate on what has been achieved; what  has been the feedback from the people they are representing, especially the opposition?

Also, a cursory look at the relationship of the House with the other arms of government, especially the executive, in the task of raising the bar of good governances in the State is explored.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The House which commenced full legislature session immediately after its inauguration, proved that it means business, by recording an unprecedented feat of sponsoring the first private bills since the inception of the House of Assembly in 1979. It is a bill for a Law on Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill 2015 sponsored by a member representing Gweria, Bani, Adena Constituency, Hon. Baziki Suleiman.

The 8th Legislature however made history on 16th march 2017 when it finally passed the first Private Bill, a Bill for a Law to Establish Kwara State Health Insurance Agency and Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme, sponsored by a member representing Kaiama/Kemanji/ Wajibe Constituency, Hoan. Ahmed Ibn Mohammed.

Other Private Bills sponsored by members of the current Legislature are People With Disabilities Bill 2016 by Hon. Aisat Boduarin Ibrahim representing Ilorin East Constituency, which has also been passed into law, while Prohibition Against Manufacture Sales and Consumption of Liquor in certain Areas of Ilorin Metropolis) Bill 2017 sponsored by a member representing Ilorin North West Constituency Hon Abdul Rafiu Abdul Rahman is still undergoing legislative process.

The State Health Insurance Scheme Bill which has been assented to by  Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed seeks to make all segments of the state have access to affordable quality health care delivery with payment of just N500 premium in five years, while Persons with Disabilities Bill intends to outlaw any form of discrimination against People with Disabilities, especially in terms of gainful employment opportunities, having access to government basic infrastructural facilities and cheçk stigmatization against them .

Equally, the pro active nature of the Legislature manifested in giving legal backing to the establishment of the State Internal Reverence Service to enable the state government to be less dependent on the Federation Account for survival. This feat on 26th April, 2016 empowered the state government to successfully carry on  with the business of governance during the economic recession which rendered most states of the federation incapacitated of paying workers’ salaries and pensions and gratuities, talk less of executing projects for the wellbeing of the people who voted them into power.

Apart from passing 14 Bills into law within the last 24 calendar months, 4 other Bills are currently at the final stage of passage into law, while 7 other Bills have passed through the First Reading stage.

The 8th Legislature under the leadership of the Speaker in the bid to ensure that laws enacted by the House were practicable and stand the test of time increased stakeholders’ participation in Public Hearings and inputs emanating from such public hearings were mostly reflected in the final passage of such Bills.Some of the Bills that had scaled through Legislative hurdle and had been assented to by the State Chief Executive have started having meaningful impacts on the people of the state.

Such Bills include Kwara State Revenue Administration (Amendment) Bill 2016, Kwara State Revenue Court (Amendment) Bill 2016, Secret Cult and Secret Societies (Prohibition) Bill 2016, Kwara State Health Insurance Scheme 2016, Kwara State Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education ( Amendment) Bill 2016, Kwara State Land Charge Court (Amendment)Bill 2016 and Local Government (Miscellaneous Provision)(Amendment) Bill 2016.

The Legislature is also at the verge of passing 11 bills into law as the House had conducted all inclusive Public Hearings on each of the affected bills. The bills include Public Procurement Bill which seeks ,among other things, to increase mobilization fee to between 30% and 50%, a bill giving legal backing to the State Internal Revenue Service under the Revenue Court Amendment Bill,ex perte against defaulters, to enable the IRS maximize its  revenue collection ability, since the house has vowed not to allow increase in tax rate for the time being.

The Urban and Regional Planning and Development Bill before the House is a fallout of the experience of the Assembly with strong cabals in the planning and development industry, as the house had tried to control illegal petrol stations and other illegal changes to land uses.
The bill is geared towards correcting the weak laws in the sector and complement the People With Disabilities Bill just passed by the House to enrich the lives of the vulnerable people.

Equally, the signature and most revolutionary law in the history of criminal Justice administration in Nigeria is the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which our darling Speaker single handedly sponsored to apply across Federal Courts in Nigeria during his days at the National Assembly. Kwara State is now ready to enact the law in its newest and most progressive version.

Abubakar Sola Saraki University Bill which seeks to include Attorney General in its Governing Council, while other bills concerning hoteliers, hospitality and tourism industry, licensing for quarry and industrial goods and levy for manufacturing processing are also in the works.

The 8th Assembly has equally through its —Motions and  over 200 Resolutions arising from Public Petitions, Matters of Urgent Public Importance and Matters of General Public Importance significantly assisted in ensuring that relevant government agencies, governments at all levels, corporate organizations and individuals live up to people’s expectations of addressing the yearnings of the people of the state.

These include Extortion of Pilgrims for Free Saudi Arabia Visas, Proliferation of Petrol Stations in Residential Areas in Ilorin Metropolis in which 6 Filling Stations were unanimously resolved by the House through its resolutions, that they should be demolished to the forestall loss of lives and valuable property of the helpless downtrodden of  Ilorin, the speaker state capital.

The House equally succeeded in drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the deplorable Ilorin-Jebba Highway by collaborating with the Niger State House Of Assembly in moving the sessions of the two Legislative arm of government to the highway.

This, no doubt prompted the immediate response of the Federal Government in rehabilitating the highway which links southern and northern part of the country as well as the nation’s capital city.

It also resolved the contradiction arising from Issuance of Certificates of Local Government Origin, resolved motion in respect of Promoting the Welfare of Widows in the State; Appraisal of Corporate Social Responsibility of Companies and Industries in the state; Need for Awareness on Fire Prevention and Control; Need For Full Autonomy for the Judiciary of Kwara State; Putting Oke-Oyi Silos into use to ensure food Security; Extending the services of the Kwara State Road Traffic Management Agency(KWARTMA) to other cities in the State; Utilizing the Multi Million naira state of the art Vocational Centre in Ajase-Ipo; Urgent attention on Kaiama–Kishi road;  Need for the Construction of Second River Niger Bridge in Edu Local Government Area of the state and Need to check Indiscriminate Parking of Trailers in Oko–Olowo Area of Ilorin.

PASSAGE OF APPROPRIATION BILLS:
Equally the House has not been found wanting in the performance of its cardinal function of passing Appropriation Bills into law to enable the executive arm of government embark on both Capital Projects and Recurrent Expenditure which would, among other things, improve the quality of lives of the electorate, as members had always handled the passage of budget vigorously and with tenacity of purpose to make its implementation by the executive easier, hence the Speaker personally supervises  budget defence by Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in 2016, to ensure that  the 2016 budget model serves as template for the subsequent years.

The Speaker had in his opening remark at the 2016  budget defense, insisted vehemently that budget should be reality based by not unnecessarily bogus, adding that passing practicable budget determines the success or otherwise of any legislative arm of government.

Members equally during 2017 budget defense by MDAs raised critical  questions inspite of the fact that all the 24 members belong to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC)and sought for verifiable explanations, new proposals to reflect the aspirations of the State Governor of using agriculture to stimulate sustainable economic development, job and wealth creation and food security for the people and  address the yearnings of the people of the State.

The Legislators were particularly dissatisfied with allocation of N133m to the agricultural sector, non inclusion of Owu f Fall road project, low allocation for payment of Bursary/Scholarship to indigent students of Kwara state in tertiary institutions across the country, Light Up Kwara project and unanimously resolved that allocation to agriculture sector be increased to N6.76m to enable peasant farmers have access to agric loan, tractor hiring scheme, fadama III project and other services that would boost food production in the State.

Apart from ensuring that for the first time communities initiated projects to be executed in their localities, the House ensured that Capital Expenditure takes the larger part of 2017 budget and resolved to be conducting oversight function quarterly for better appraisal and transform, the budget of hope into reality to enhance the wellbeing of the people of the state.

LEGISLATIVE INTERVENTIONS:
The current legislature had on several occasions intervened in resolving industrial disputes between the state government and labour unions to restore industrial harmony in the State. Examples of such interventions are the industrial crisis between the state government and staffers of the state owned tertiary institutions, industrial disputes between government and the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).

The Speaker equally demonstrated that he felt the pains of Basic Education Teachers and Local Government Employees not receiving salaries for months when he personally donated hundreds of bags of food items to cushion the effects of the harsh economic reality. To show that, security of lives and property were paramount to the legislative arm of government, the speaker recently personally donated mobility to the Ilorin East and Ilorin South chapters of the Vigilante Groups of Nigeria to enhance their surveillance.

 The former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of the State, showed his passion for teeming youths of the state to be gainfully employed when he established Free Computer Literacy and Free Internet Browsing Programme for youths in his constituency. He also successfully hosted Kwara State indigenes who bagged first class degree award in Universities across the Country, to inspire others and encourage more academic excellence in various disciplines of educational pursuit.

HOSTING OF CONFERENCE OF SPEAKERS OF STATE HOUSES OF ASSEMBLY:
The Legislature also within the period under review successfully hosted Conference of Speakers of State Houses of Assembly and Workshop on adoption of Dr. Ali Ahmad sponsored Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) by State Governments.

FEEDBACK:
The World Vice Chairman of Global Industrial Union (IGU) Comrade Issa Aremu in his assessment of the current Legislature in the state said the Speaker had put his wealth of experience into bar in making the legislature in the state the conscience of the people and succeeded in making democracy more meaningful to average Nigerian.

The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in the State, through their Chairmen Comrades Yekini Agunbiade and Kola Olumoh noted  that the 8th Legislature under the watch of the speaker had demonstrated that it is a true Peoples’ Assembly and urged it to sustain the tempo to further reinforce the peoples’ confidence in it.

The State Chairmen of the Nigerian Union Teachers and National Union of Local Government Employees described the current Legislature as responsible and responsive to the yearnings of the People of the State.

The opposition members, especially the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in its weekly Radio Programme ” PDP Gbode”, on several occasions noted with delight that the legislature had served as effective check on the executive arm of government, as the lawmakers, they noted, had been critical of the executive arm of government, where necessary.

The state Governor, Alhaji AbdulFatah Ahmed, during his signing of 2017 budget into law, described the current legislature as one of the most vibrant Houses of Assembly in Nigeria, noting that the legislative arm of government had been a source of inspiration for raising the bar of good governance in the State.

As the 8th legislature begins the second lap of its 4years mandate, it is reassuring to echo the position and assurance of the leadership and members that in a every circumstance the House will remain the Assembly of the people
of Kwara State.

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Salary Crises: Ask FG For Help, Group Tells NULGE

The Kwara Transparency and Good Governance Group, KTGG, has called on the National Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, to seek help from the Federal Government on the issues of back salaries in the State.

In a statement released  on Thursday, and signed by the General Secretary, Mallam Abdulganiyu Rahman, the group stated that only the Federal Government can bail out the Local Government Councils from the present salary crises.

The group also added that it has become clear that the state may be incapable to solve this issue in the light of current economic situation that has affected every tier of government in the country.

The statement stated further that NULGE may want to employ the strategy of NUT used recently when it took matters to the National Assembly, without causing public unrest or fracas.

Finally, the group advised NULGE to press the Federal government to increase allocation going to the LGs as way to possibly defray these various backlogs, instead of shading the State Government who has insisted on several occasion that it does not have enough resources to bail the LGs out.

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Democracy Day: Kwara Speaker Charges Nigerians

Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad has stated that efforts and sacrifices put in place to achieve Nigeria’s nascent democracy must be protected by every stakeholder  in order to ensure its sustenance.

This, Ahmad said, would undoubtedly demonstrate to the developed countries that the Nigeria has come of age and learnt a lot from many years of military dictatorship.

The Speaker who said this in his congratulatory message, issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Shuaib Abdulkadir, to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day on Monday, congratulated Nigerians for the feat recorded so far in democratic governance.

Ahmad said further that in spite of several challenges the country has faced in recent years, experiences garnered have assisted tremendously in achieving 18 years of political stability.

The Speaker challenged both Federal and State Governments to attend to wishes of citizens in the country by ensuring that dividends of democracy spread to the nooks and crannies.

According to him, “Nigerians are craving for more in terms of development and deserve nothing but the best. Government must work assiduously to satisfy the yearnings. Fortunately for us we still have our democracy intact, therefore together we must do everything not to return to the military rule era”.

He, however lauded those who paid the ultimate prize while struggling to restore Nigeria’s democracy, noting that history would never forget them and their sacrifices.

Ahmad also commended Nigerians for their understanding and continued support for democracy, stressing that the worst democracy in every sense could not be quantified with military rule.

The speaker enjoined Nigerians to continue supporting President Mohammadu Buhari’s  administration in its efforts to build a peaceful and enduring democratic legacy in the country.

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Ramadan: Kwara Speaker Ali Ahmad Tasks Muslims

Following the commencement of Ramadan, the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali Ahmad has congratulated Muslim faithful, enjoining them to use the period to offer prayers for themselves and the nation at large.

Ahmad, in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Shuaib Abdulkadir, in Ilorin on Saturday further charged them to use the period to move closer to Allah by increasing their supplications.

He stated that the rewards and spiritual blessings in the month of Ramadan could not be quantified, noting that it equally provides opportunities for Muslims to right the wrongs in their lives.

The Speaker noted that whoever fasts, worships and perfoms other supplications as directed by Allah through Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is bound to have bountiful rewards from Allah in the glorious month.

Ahmad, however  prayed Allah to grant every worshiper  the required strength, sound health and other necessary things needed to observe the fasting successfully and accept the sacrifices as an act of Ibadah.

He also tasked Muslims in the  Kwara state to use the opportunity to pray for sustenance of peace and harmony in the state, stressing that it would aid development and provide atmosphere for government to build on existing legacies.

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APYF Celebrates #KwaraAt50, Tasks Stakeholders To Involve Youths In Shaping The Future

The Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF) felicitates with Kwara State indigenes, home and abroad, on the 50th year anniversary of the State of Harmony.

We congratulate all our leaders, both past and present, for the dynamic roles they played and still playing in laying the structures for a glorious State.

We specifically commend the efforts of the political leader of the State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, our amiable governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, His Eminence, the Emir of Ilorin and chairman of Kwara state traditional council, Alhaji(Dr.) Ibrahim Zulu Gambari and other royal fathers for upholding the legacy of peaceful coexistence which Kwara is known for, and which forms the basis for this celebrations. That Kwara remained intact in spite of the many centrifugal and divisive forces is a testimony to the ingenuity and capacity of our leaders.

The Forum also duly recognize and commend all individuals who have one way or the other brought fame to our dear State through their exploits in different fields of human endeavors. It is due to the collective efforts and individual achievements of hardworking Kwarans that the State of harmony has achieved the recognition and respect it currently enjoys in the comity of states in the federation. That Kwara is proudly celebrating 50 today is therefore due largely to the tenacity and achievements of these individuals.

The theme of the celebration is very apt, ‘celebrating harmony, shaping the future’. It is a theme that reflects the recognition of youths as the custodians and bearers of all future hopes and dreams. In the light of this, APYF would like to appeal to all the Stakeholders in Kwara State to rededicate themselves to mentoring and nurturing future leaders in order to attain the objective of preparing a successor generation that is capable of sustaining the growth that Kwara has achieved over the years.

It imperative for the political leaders in the State to cultivate and nurture a leadership learning platform for the next generation by involving them in governance and harvesting their youthful foresight to advance the fortunes of our dear State. To shape the future, the youths, who are custodians of sustainable progress, must be made partakers and part-owners of all future aspirations.

Once again, we congratulate the government and the good people of Kwara State on this auspicious celebration of half a century history of togetherness and peaceful coexistence.

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Ag. President Yemi Osinbajo, Save Kaiama Local Govt From Unending Deceit Of Kwara State Govt By Idris Abdulmumin

Your excellency sir, With honour, I write to call on the quintessential Ag President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to come to the rescue of the good people of kaiama local government of Kwara state. This call has become imperative owing to the endless lies the Kwara State government has been dishing out on the construction of Kaiama-Kishi road.

Sir, without going too deep down Memory Lane, on the  25th of November, 2014,The Governor of Kwara state organised a fiesta he tagged as “flagg off” of Kaiama -Kishi road and opined that the project will gulp up to N8Billion.Just three construction machines were displayed at the event and the name of the construction company is still largely anonymous. This was just some few months before the 2015 General elections. I hope you can connect the dots Sir. Till today the machines are still lying fallow at the venue of the so called “flagg off “ceremony. No motion!

I don’t want to bore you with past ‘rhetorics’ by the State government on the road but will like to bring to your Knowledge the recent claim by the State government that it has spent 500million and the Federal govt has taken over the funding of the construction of the road.

Sir, I don’t want to sound rude, but, it’s a big-fat-lie. The project as it is today is nothing but a charade.How will the Federal govt take over the funding of a road that in the first place not under construction? The fraudulent claim of expending 500m don’t even bother me much, what’s disturbing is the deliberate, vicious circle of over politicisation of the road project. It has for long been turned into an electioneering bait to hoodwink people into supporting a suffocating oligarchic political system in the state.

This ugly trend must end and the right time to give it a halt is now, under your astute leadership. We crave your indulgence to please unravel all the mysteries behind this road project.

Sir, the Kaiama -Kishi road is a federal road which is just about 64 km in distance. All we want is the Federal govt to take back full possession of the construction of the road.Award the contract to a Construction firm of impeccable track record to ensure a quality job and speedy completion.

Sir, the name of your humble self and of course our highly revered President Muhammadu Buhari will be written on the positive side of history of kaiama if this road and other deplorable roads (Kaiama-Kosubosu and Kaiama-Kainji roads) linking kaiama are well constructed to put an end to the age long suffering of our people. May God be your Guide as you take charge of the onerous task of repositioning Nigeria. And may the Almighty God give President Muhammadu Buhari sound health and safe return to continue the cleansing of Nigeria.

Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long live Kwara state,
Long live Kaiama local government.
Abdulmumin Kilishi Na’TaAllah

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Fish Out Coup Plotters, Falana Tells FG

A Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has called on the federal authorities to take a bold step in arresting those rumoured to be planning to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration,

Speaking at a colloquium on Kwara@50 organised by The Movement For Genuine Change in Ilorin, the human rights lawyer said the alleged coup plotters should be tried for treasonable felony.

In his paper titled “Politics, Leadership And Accountability: The Role Of The People,” Falana warned the political class to stop playing into the hands of the plotters.

“While the decision of the Army chief to alert the nation of the devilish plot is appreciated, the authorities should proceed to fish out the coup plotters and their civilian collaborators with a view to trying them for treasonable felony.

“Notwithstanding the glaring shortcomings of the fragile democratic process, the people should be allowed to take advantage of the democratic structures to take their political destiny in their own hands,” the paper reads.

On the economic front, Falana called for the resuscitation of the Peoples’ Bank to give loans to indigent citizens who could not access loans in commercial banks.

“The Islamic Bank and others which are not going to charge interests should be established. In addition, the federal government should spend the fund recovered from corrupt public officers and their privies on job creation and fixing of hospitals and schools as well as the funding of other social services,” he said.

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Bill To Fast Track Administration Of Criminal Justice In Kwara State Passes Second Reading

A Bill for a Law to fast track Administration of Criminal Justice in all Courts in Kwara State has passed through Second Reading at the floor of the House of Assembly.

Leading other Members in the debate, the leader of the House, Hon. Hassan Oyeleke who said the bill, about to be domesticated by the House, was sponsored by the Speaker, Dr. Ali Ahmad, when he was in the House of Representatives in the 7th Legislature, to make the nation’s criminal Justice system conforms with international best practice.

The bill according to the House Leader, seeks among other thing to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of Judicial system,by ensuring quick dispensation of criminal Justice in all Courts in the State and urged his colleagues to give the bill accelerated passage.

In their contributions, members representing Oke Ogun  and Kaiama/Kemanji/ Wajibe Constituencies, who respectively traced the concept of ACJA to relevant sections  of the 1999 Constitution, said domestication of the ACJA would enhance quick dispensation of criminal Justice and address other challenges bedeviling the State Judicial system.

Equally, a bill for a law to provide for the licensing and Control of Industrial Goods, Quarry Haulage, a bill for a law to impose a levy on manufacturing process, as well as a bill for a law to impose tax on Goods and  Services consumed in Hotels, Restaurants and Event Centres within the State, passed through Second Reading, just as  the Deputy Speaker Elder Mathew Okedare who presided over the Thursday’s sitting, directed the bills to the relevant House Committees, to conduct all inclusive public hearing and report to the House within two weeks.

However, most  members expressed divergent views on the State Manufacturing Levy Bill 2017 and Hotel Occupancy and Restaurant Consumption Bill, saying that passing the two bills may amount to double taxation, thereby compounding the alarming unemployment rate and high cost of living of the people of the State.

Meanwhile, the House has urged the State government to provide a 500 KVA Transformer to occupants of Legislative Quarters, Irewolede area, to ease power problem in the area.

The Resolution followed the consideration of a report on ” Overloading of Transformer by Shop owners outside the Quarters”, written by Residents of Legislative Quarters in Ilorin.

The House also urged the State Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and State Bureau of Lands to provide transformer and other necessary facilities to their Clients, Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, according to the House, should also ensure that all electricity facilities within its jurisdiction, were maintained  to justify payments of bills, by Consumers.

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Kwara At 50: Unity, Peace and Development, Our Greatest Achievements Says KWSG

The Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Alhaji Isiaka Gold says unity, peace and development remain the greatest achievements of the State as it turns 50.

These, according to him, are responsible for the peaceful coexistence and prosperity enjoyed in the State despite its cultural diversity.

Alhaji Gold said this on Wednesday while addressing a World Press Conference to herald Golden Jubilee anniversary of the State.

He said that the previous and present governments have promoted the principle of inclusiveness as a tool for understanding among the different cultural groups in the State.

The SSG also disclosed that the state is reputed for its religious and cultural tolerance which have made Kwara indeed a State of Harmony.

Speaking on progress made so far, Alhaji Gold said that Kwara of 1967 is a far departure from the present in terms of development.

He disclosed that Kwara State has come of age, encountered various difficulties but overcame most of them to record marvelous achievements.

Alhaji Gold listed the developments to include the Federal, State and private universities, industries, an emerging aviation hub, advanced health facilities, modern recreational facilities, and comparatively good infrastructure.

According to him, Kwarans have also distinguished themselves in various spheres of human endeavor including government, sports, medicine, business, education, medicine, entertainment and other sectors.

While unveiling the logo and theme of the anniversary “Celebrating Harmony, Shaping the Future”, the chairman noted that the theme reflects how far the State has come as a people and the determination to define a solid, prosperous and sustainable future for current and future generations of Kwarans.

The SSG said that though the Golden Jubilee of the State deserves celebration, the events will be low-key in consonance with the mood of the country.

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Kwara Public Procurement Bill: Stakeholders Raise Mobilization Fee To Thirty Percent

Engineers, Government Contractors, Top Government functionaries and other stakeholders say the Public Procurement Bill before the Kwara House of Assembly will enhance the involvement of local contractors and other Professionals in contributing meaningfully towards the development of Infrastructure in the State.

The Bill according to them will equally ensure transparency and accountability in the award of  Contracts in the State.

The Stakeholders made the Submissions in Ilorin,while expressing their desirability for the enactment of the State Public Procurement Bill 2017, in a well attended public hearing organized by the State House of Assembly.

 In their submissions, majority of the Stakeholders advocated raising of mobilization fee from 15 % to 30%, stressing that the inclusion of threshold in the bill, would go along way in reversing the phenomenon of abandoned projects and enhance quick completion of government projects.

The call for the inclusion of the Secretary to the State Government on the Board, was however down played by the Stakeholders.

Other Contributors blamed the Country’s under development on increased abandoned projects, which they said was largely attributable to less involvement of local Contractors in the execution   of contracts.

The Nigerian Society of Engineers, the Chamber for Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture called for the inclusion of various relevant Professionals like Chartered lnstitute of Purchasing and Supply Management and Quantity Surveyors in the agency, to enhance its performance.

Speaking at the Public hearing, the Kaiama Community, observed with delight that the 8th Legislature under the leadership of the Speaker, has recorded unprecedented achievements through its people oriented legislative activities.

The Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, the State Head of Service, State Internal Revenue Service and other Stakeholders, while expressing desirability for the passage of the bill into law, said the bill would address inadequacies in the execution of government’s projects and ensure transparency.

The Speaker Dr. Ali Ahmad had while declaring the public hearing open, said the forum offered an opportunity to openly examine the factors militating against achieving the objectives of local content policy and assured that the views of the Stakeholders would assist the House to enact practicable and enduring laws for the State.

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Make Public Local Govt Salary Arrears: Group Tells Kwara State Govt

The Kwara Transparency and Good Governance group has called on the Kwara State Government (KWSG) to make public actual salary arrears across the sixteen local governments and the amount required to clear them.

The non-partisan group also added that the Ahmed-led administration’s insistence that it is not responsible for Local Government (LG) workers’ salaries can no longer continue in the face of untold hardship that the unpaid workers, and their families, are going through.

This demand was made known in a statement signed by the State Secretary of the group, Mallam Rahman Abdulganiyu, released on May Day and made available to newsmen.

According to the statement, the group said, “we want to say emphatically, that people are hungry. The unpaid salaries of workers, whether LG Council employees or not, have affected the state economy”.

“While we recognize that the LG salary arrears are due to drop in allocation from the Federal Government, the state government must come to the rescue of the embattled local governments whose responsibility it is to pay local government workers”.

“Since welfare of citizens is one of the tenets of government, KWSG can no longer turn a blind eye to the plight of workers at the Local Council levels.

“We hereby, demand a transparent and sincere resolution of this economic impasse so to say, while also asking that actual figures of what is owed and how much it would take to clear such be made public”, the statement concluded.

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