Posts tagged as: state

Nigeria: Two in 1,000 Are HIV Positive in Ikorodu – LSACA

By Gabriel Olawale

THE rate of HIV transmission in Lagos State and environs has dropped dramatically.

Disclosing this to newsmen last week, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDs Control Agency, LSACA, Dr. Oluseyi Temowo, said results of series of HIV testing and counseling exercises carried out in Ikorodu area of Lagos, showed that less than 0.1 percent of the population tested positive to HIV.

Speaking in Ijede LCDA of Ikorodu Division, Temowo said in every 1,000 people screened the Agency found that 2-3 tested positive.

Temowo said the exercise was in accordance with commitment of the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to eradicate HIV/AIDS by 2030, as stated at the World Health Assembly last year.

“Our commitment is that even if we only identify one person out of 1,000, they must be enrolled because we are committed to the UN strategy which identifies with the 90;90;90 initiative.

What that means is that 90 percent of the population must know its HIV status, 90 per cent must be enrolled in care, and 90 percent of those enrolled in care must have viral suppression by 2020. In so doing we would have eradicated HIV/AIDS by 2030.

He explained that the current HIV prevalence rate in Lagos as at 2014 was 4.1 percent but the pilot study carried out recently shows it’s about 1.5 “This reduction was made possible by what we call 4/3, which means that every four weeks in a month we go round the three Senatorial districts on the instruction of the Governor to sensitize people about HIV/AIDs.

“Also we have made progress in prevention of mother-to-child transmission because our focus is on epidemic control which means that if you are husband to a woman, and you are using your drug regularly, you cannot infect your wife or if you are a woman that is pregnant and you are using your drugs regularly, your baby may not be positive to HIV.

“This is the reason the state is clearing zero tolerance to babies born positive to HIV.

He expressed worry over the prevalence rate of HIV among youths and males who practice gay sex (Men having Sex with Men, MSM).

Disclosure of identity is one of the biggest challenges to the presence of HIV among MSM but for female sex workers we do what we call Mulan Testing for them at night and they are cooperating which informed the significant drop compared to MSM.

“Low educational status, some of our clients don’t understand English but we ensure we have people that can speak. Another challenge is penetrating the interior, which has been solved by the governor.

“Our message to Lagosians is that HIV is not a disease that can kill anybody again, when you have it you can live normally, so it is no more a death sentence but life sentence. People should not run away from those that have it because it cannot be contacted through association but only by blood contact.

Makamba Rallies Behind Protection of River Mara

By Mugini Jacob in Tarime

SUSTAINABLE conservation of Mara River that forms an integral part of Masai-Serengeti ecosystem is of critical importance for the Tanzania and Kenya’s tourism sector development.

Minister of State in the Vice- President’s Office, Environment and Union, January Makamba (pictured), speaking at the sixth celebrations of Mara River Day here over the weekend, said that the river helps conserving Masai Mara Games Reserves and Serengeti National Park, which are the major tourist attractions.

Tanzania and Kenya host the Mara River Day celebration on September 15, on rotational basis. The Minister said Tanzania will continue fulfilling her obligations in the protection and conservation of the River for present and future generations.

“Protection of Mara River is inevitable…as the government, we will continue fulfilling our responsibilities,” said the Minister who officiated at the event that attracted many stakeholders from the two East African countries that share the River.

Mr Makamba thanked Kenya for what he described as a good job in protecting and conserving the River, which starts on Mau forests on the Kenyan side, passes through Masai Mara Game Reserves and Serengeti National Park and discharges water into Lake Victoria on the Tanzanian side.

Besides tourism and conservation sectors, the river basin supports livelihoods of thousands of local communities on both sides.

“We are happy for the good job by organisations that protect and conserve Mara river,” Mr Makamba said, observing that Tanzania and Kenya are blessed with great resources that should be protected at any cost for present and future generations.

Earlier, the Minister inspected the exhibitions that were held at Tarime Teachers Training College as part of the Day celebrations.

Tanzania

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Nigeria: Borno IDPs Camps Record 701 Fresh Cases of Cholera

By Francis Okoye

Maiduguri — No fewer than 701 fresh cases of cholera epidemic were recorded at various Internally Displaced persons ( IDPs) camps in Maiduguri and other local government areas of Borno State between Friday last week to Monday .

Over 4 victims also died within the said period with Muna Garage IDPs camps where the first case of cholera was traced to, recording 1425 cases while Dikwa IDPs camp recorded 600 cases with Monguno IDPs camps recording 607 cases as the remaining 96 cases were recorded in other IDPs camps in Borno between 16th August this year when the first outbreak was reported .

This was disclosed yesterday by the Borno State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia during the flag off of the cholera vaccination campaign organised by the Borno state government, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) which was held at the Muna-garage IDPs camp in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

Dr Mshelia,who in his earlier briefing last week Friday , on Cholera situation, put the total cases of Cholera recorded in Borno at 1,925 with 44 deaths noted that the cases jumped up to 2,728 with 48 deaths by Monday this week.

” Since the outbreak of Cholera in some of the IDPs camps, the ministry of health, World Health Organization and other partners have been working round the clock to ensure that the epidemic which was caused by poor sanitary facilities at IDPs camps are eradicated.

” So far over 1,600 latrines have been evacuated and fumigated while 4 treatment centres were created with 2 in Maiduguri metropolis, one in Dikwa while the remaining one is situated in Mongunu.

” Adequate vaccines have been acquired for the vaccination of all persons living in the affected camps and areas which include; MMC, Here , Mongunu , Konduga, Ngala, Kalabarge, Kukawa and Gwoza,” the Commissioner of Health said.

He added that the cholera vaccines acquired are brand new and the first of its kind in the country.

Nigeria

Buhari Takes Heat Off Army, Signs Proclamation Proscribing Biafra

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MPs Start Scrutiny of Agriculture Efforts as Planting Season Begins

By Eugene Kwibuka

Members of the parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Environment have kicked off a 10-day tour of the country to assess the state of agriculture as farmers prepare for the new planting season that began this month.

The MPs, who met officials at the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) yesterday, will be assessing how the Government’s efforts to boost agriculture are helping farmers, especially in the distribution of subsidised fertilisers and seeds as well as the preparation of marshlands for productive farming.

The committee chairperson, Ignatienne Nyirarukundo, told journalists after the meeting with MINAGRI officials that Rwandans need to maximise their land to achieve full food security.

“There are simple things that could be done to increase agricultural output. For instance, we don’t need to have any dormant land while people are struggling to get vegetables in areas like Kigali,” she said.

The MP said that the tour, which will take them to 18 districts across the country, will be an opportunity to sensitise local officials to be closer to farmers and help them improve their agricultural output.

“We will be looking at whether local officials are aware that they are in charge of looking after agriculture too. Some of them tend to think that they are in charge of people’s security and social welfare but agriculture is at the centre of all of that,” she said.

About 70 per cent of the Rwandan population are dependent on agriculture either through direct employment or other related jobs. The sector contributes 30 per cent to the country’s economy.

Under its agriculture subsidy scheme, commonly known as ‘Nkunganire’, the Government, through MINAGRI, will sponsor farmers who grow priority crops in the current planting season and help them acquire fertilisers at lower prices whereby they pay between 15 and 25 per cent of fertiliser costs.

Those to benefit from the subsidy in the current season include growers of maize, beans, wheat, soya, rice, Irish potatoes, cassava, banana, vegetables and fruits.

Govt pledges support

Agriculture minister Gerardine Mukeshimana told MPs at yesterday’s meeting that the Government will keep supporting farmers so they can become real agricultural entrepreneurs who practice farming as a profitable business.

“Farmers everywhere in the world need help. We will never stop supporting them and that’s why we constantly assess where there are acute challenges and address them,” she said.

She later told journalists that every farmer in the country needs to consider farming as a business and profit-generating activity that helps farmers cater for their day-to-day needs.

While the Government has had challenges in procurement of certain seeds needed for the planting season – with only about 50 per cent of the needed seeds of maize, wheat, and soy available by yesterday – the minister said the remaining seeds will be available in the country by the end of the month.

The current planting season kicked off in the mid-month and will end in the middle of next month, with farmers in region that got early rains this month already planting their seeds while those who will experience late rains will be able to sow their seeds from now until October 15.

A report of the state of agriculture efforts in the country to be put together by the legislators once they are done with their trip will be tabled in Parliament for consideration in line with the House’s duty to oversee government activities.

South Africa: Eskom to Cut Power in Northern Provinces

Eskom is due to begin bulk power interruptions in the Free State, Northern Cape and Limpopo this week.

The power utility will today implement power supply interruptions in several municipalities in the Northern Cape, including Douglas and Griekwastad in the Siyancuma Local Municipality. The towns of Van der Kloof, Phillipstown and Petrusville in the Renosterberg Local Municipality will also be affected by today’s power interruptions.

Hopetown and Strydenburg in the Thembelihle Municipality and Postmasburg in the Tsantsabane Local Municipality are also scheduled to experience power cuts today.

The cuts are as a result of the non-payment of bills.

Limpopo, Free State

In Limpopo, the power utility is due to implement power interruptions in Thabazimbi, Ipelegeng, Regorogile X5 and 6 on Thursday.

In the Free State, Eskom will implement bulk electricity interruptions in the towns of Reitz, Lindley and Petrus Steyn in the Nketoana Municipality on 27 September.

The towns of Ladybrand, Excelsior, Tweespruit, Dawiesville in Mantsopa Municipality as well as Seretse, Boshof, and Dealsville in the Tokologo Municipality are also scheduled to have power interruptions on 27 September.

On the same day, the towns of Brandfort, Theunissen, Verkeerdevlei, Windburg,Bothaville, Wesselsbron, Bethlehem, Paul Roux, Rosenekal, Fateng-Tse-Ntsho, Kroonstad, Steynsrus as well as Viljoenskroon will also be subjected to power interruptions.

The power utility at the weekend said it remains mindful of the impact of supply interruptions on consumers.

“Eskom remains mindful of the impact such supply interruptions will have on electricity consumers, thus the interruption of supply to municipalities for non-payment is always implemented as a last resort.”

Suspension of interruptions in North West

However, the power utility has suspended its planned bulk electricity supply interruptions to several towns in North West.

The power utility was due to implement electricity interruptions in Lichtenburg, Coligny and Boikhutso on 27 September.

Eskom has further suspended power supply interruptions to Bloemhof, Christiana and Schweizer-Reneke, which were meant to take place on 10 October.

Interruptions to the towns of Coldridge, Vryburg and Stella, Delareyville, Sannieshof, Ottosdal, Koster and Swartruggens, which were due to take place on Wednesday, have also been suspended.

“Our engagements and negotiations with these municipalities have yielded mutually acceptable agreements, thus averting the scheduled interruptions. We hope that the municipalities will honour their commitments in order to ensure continuous supply of electricity.

“However, should they renege, we reserve the right to restart the interruptions without further notice,” said Group Executive: Customer Services, Ayanda Noah.

Nigeria: Death Traps in Edo and Delta

By Adibe Emenyonu

Adibe Emenyonu writes on the harrowing experience the people of Edo and Delta pass through as a result of failed roads.

Last July, the Senate Committee on Works led by its Vice Chairman, Senator Clifford Odia, an indigene of Edo State and of the Edo Central senatorial zone extraction led other members of the committee on a fact finding mission on the state of roads under construction in the state.

Though the visit was one of those regular routine visits usually embarked by government officials, it however afforded communities living within the long stretch of the road especially those around the Ewu in Edo Central Local Government Area, and Ekopma, Esan West Council Area to lament their frustration to the Odia-led team on the state of the road which is in the worst stage of disrepair.

During that August visit in the month of July, spokesman of Ewu community, and a septuagenarian, Pa Jerome Idiata, told the Senate committee point blank that they are tired of burying dead bodies occasioned by the increasing rate of road accidents especially along the notorious Ewu Hill axis of the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi-Okene Expressway.

He told the committee that shortly before the 2015 general elections, his people were full of praises for the federal government in its decision to make the road a dual carriageway. He however expressed the people’s disappointment that what ordinarily should be a thing of joy eventually became a source of sorrow both for commuters and motorists, as well communities living within and along the road.

Pa Idiata is not alone. At Ekpoma, a university town down to Ehor, headquarters of Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State, the story of frustration and utter neglect is the same.

A community leader at Ekpoma, Ojeme Titus echoed the same sentiment when he said the situation in the area was worsening as all the internal road networks have been destroyed due to diversion of traffic to avoid the badly damaged major road.

The consequences of the Benin-Auchi Expressway is that the failed portion has paralysed businesses within the affected areas which some who could not cope with the situation have been forced to relocate due to lack of patronage.

But for the construction of the Irrua-Usugbenu-Igueben-Ujiogba roads in Edo Central district by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole motorists would have opted to pass through Agbor in Delta State to Uromi. Even at that, that section of the road is nothing to boast of as there are bad portions along the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Expressway.

Alternatively, motorists now take longer routes to get to Ekpoma and Auchi by navigating either through the Sobe-Ifon in Ondo State down to Uzeba Road for those traveling to Afuze, Sabongida-Ora and Igarra; while Ekpoma, Irrua and Auchi bound vehicles are forced to go through Isi-Ujiogba-Igueben-Irrua.

These options no doubt have increased transport fares from Benin City to towns in Edo Central and Edo North by over 50 per cent. For instance, fare from Benin to Ekpoma that cost N500 now cost N1,000; while Benin to Auchi which previously attract N700 now cost N1,400. Not only that, traveling from Benin to Auchi that ordinary takes one and half hours, takes close to three hours on arrival.

Just as light vehicles are able to move along these alternative routes, the heavy duty vehicles find it difficult to manoeuvre because communities where the new link roads pass through their area now used cross bars to prevent big trucks from plying to prevent them from damaging the roads.

Against this backdrop, youths in some of the towns and villages took advantage of the ugly situation to make brisk business to keep soul and body together. A movement to some of the affected areas one could see the youths carrying out makeshift road repairs to get tips from motorists to enable them pass through. Most times those who prove stubborn pay the price by remaining at a place for several minutes or hours until they are able to pay. And while this is going on, other vehicles at their back would be forced to remain at a standstill.

It was the quest for these alternative roads that led to the death of 20 persons including a family of five in a ghastly accident during the last Eid-el-Kabir celebration day.

According an eye witness account, 16 passengers were said to have died on the spot, as the bus was severely wrecked, while eight others sustained varying degrees of injuries. Unfortunately, four out of the eight injured could not make it as they were pronounced dead shortly after arriving the hospital for treatment.

The accident THISDAY gathered, occurred at about 6:30pm when a commercial bus, marked ABD 206XA on its way to Auchi, but had to pass though Isi-Ujoigba Road had a head-on collision with a truck laden with livestock coming to Benin, the state capital.

Confirming the incident, Edo State Sector Commander, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Public Relations Officer, George Otoaviokhai, said the bus had attempted to overtake another vehicle in front of it when it rammed into the truck, marked DRZ347 XA, on the other lane.

He attributed the accident to dangerous overtaking, adding that the incident was avoidable.

“There was a vehicle in front of the bus; the bus was trying to overtake. That was not even needed. The accident was avoidable,” Otoaviokhai stated.

The FRSC official could be right in his observation but Ebhalu Ikhile, an indigene of Egoro Naoka, a community in Esan West Local Government Area however, refused to buy the above reason. He said the accident occurred on that faithful day because of pressure on that particular road following the collapse of the Benin-Auch Expressway.

Ikhile said that very accident that consumed the lives of people including innocent children was uncalled for. “Losing 20 persons in one accident which also wipe out a whole family travelling for the Sallah holiday was most unfortunate because of bad state of the major road,” he lamented, urging the federal and state governments to do some palliative work to make the road motorable for the mean time.

He described the Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi Road as a death trap and nightmare to motorists and commuters plying it. According to him, a journey that could take about 1.45 minutes now takes between 3-4 hours. Besides, he said several lives have been lost while goods worth billion of naira have been destroyed as a result of the bad state of the road without compensation from government who it is their responsibility to repair the road.

The contract for the state for the dualisation of Benin-Auchi-Lokoja Expressway was awarded in September 2014 to four contracting firms namely: Renold Construction Company (RCC), from Benin to Ehor expanding 47.70km; Ehor to Auchi, covering 29.20km awarded to Dantata and Sawoe; Auchi to Okene, stretching 26.70km granted to Mother Cat; while the Okene to Obajana overspreading 40km was assigned to CGC Ltd.

According to then Minister of Works, Mike Onolememen, the total contract sum for the four sections of the road was N75.8 billion to be completed within 36 months.

Unfortunately, the three years scheduled to deliver the road have elapsed and the road still remain a death trap, causing passengers and motorists alike, hardships.

In the past three years, the only semblance of dualisation of the road is the Benin axis covering just 14km out 143.6km stretch of road. This however, cannot be compared to other axis like between Ehor and Ekpoma through to the Ewu Hill, Irrua that have completely cut off.

As the time of filing this report, some palliative works are being done by the contractor handling the Ekpoma axis of the road, which many termed as a medicine after death. Motorists and residents of the area have expressed mixed feelings as according to them, the contractor apparently appeared because of the visit of the Senate Committee on Works.

Responding to question, the Project Manager, Dantata and Sawoe disclosed the difficulties facing the construction firm during the rainy season, adding that not much can be achieved. He however, promised that after the palliative measures, they will come back fully during the dry season.

He said work on the dual carriage way became difficult because no mobilisation fee was paid by the relevant authority. According to him, “it is difficult to do major work. As soon as the rains are over, we will come back. What we are doing presently is just to clean up the bad areas in preparation to come back with working materials as soon as the dry season set in.”

Odia however countered, disclosing that the sum of N1.3 billion has been advanced to the contractor as mobilisation, only that the contracting firm refused to do what it’s suppose to have done particularly at the Ewu Hill axis.

“This cannot be true. I’m aware that some amount has been paid. Those sections that are bad is part of scope covering Ewu Hill. If he says the amount is not enough, that I can understand. But to say nothing was paid is not true,” Odia said.

Continuing, the senator disclosed that government directed the firm to come and carry out the palliative work because the communities were angry.

Similar anger is written on the faces of communities living along the Onicha-Ugbo-Uromi axis, another federal road which has remained in a state of disrepair for more than three years.

The state of the road which connected Delta State and Edo State to the Northern axis of the country is another death trap which is also crying for attention.

Bid to Give Employers More Say in Revision of Education Syllabus

By James Kariuki

Industrialists and the German Government will partner with Kenya in creating an inclusive competency-based education and training curriculum for technical and vocational institutes.

Speaking after a one-day symposium in Nairobi, stakeholders said the programme would lay emphasis on industrial attachment, thereby enabling trainees to get first-hand job experience before formally entering the market.

The forum noted that industrial players will have a larger role in development of curriculum and standards through the Sector Skill Council.

The council looks at required skills in the job market and advises the technical and vocational institutions (TIVET) curriculum board to address them by coming up with new courses.

The German Embassy’s Green Economic Cycle initiative stresses on inclusion of environmental education in all courses, thereby inculcating a culture of efficient use of energy, light and water with keen attention to harvesting and recycling.

German Deputy Ambassador and Head of Economic Affairs Michael Derus said Kenya could promote innovation the way German’s dual vocational training system has done, where trainee graduates spent nearly half of their learning periods in industries.

“This is the best way to enable trainees to understand the workplace and be able to apply their new-found knowledge on a practical level. We are looking forward to sharing our experience and co-operating with our Kenyan partners,” he said.

The meeting brought together a delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Kenya, Kenya’s Ministry of Education officials, Science and Technology experts, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), Kenya Association of Manufacturers, and Linking Industry With Academia.

The workshop on “Vocational Training in the Field of Green Economy” was told of the need to modernise the training curriculum to incorporate future technologies and sustainability.

CBET was identified as a major step to modernising the tertiary curriculum where emphasis is placed on a multi-sectoral approach.

German’s technical and vocational education training sustainability expert Barbara Hemkes supported the ongoing reforms, saying the industry must play a larger role in the training of skilled professionals. She added that trainees must appreciate the need to conserve the environment, benefit people and reduce unnecessary processes that make operations expensive.

“Sustainability should be seen as a cross-cutting element in TVET and should be applied in the curricula of all professions,” she said. Examples include sustainable building technologies, such as passive energy houses, as well as sustainable nutrition practices in system gastronomy.

Kenya is undertaking major reforms in technical and vocation training, with a view to generating specific skills to improve lives.

The move is also geared towards attracting brighter students to technical colleges, currently viewed as institutions for school dropouts.

On its part, Kepsa called for streamlining of operations within the skills development sphere, saying there were many centres issuing certificates for various skills, making it cumbersome for Kepsa members to add their input to training.

About 15 Kenyan ministries run independent training institutions. There is no overall oversight board to monitor standards and create a seamless advancement process for skills learnt from certificate, diploma to degree levels.

Kepsa’s Mutheu Kasanga called for creation of a single certification body, adding that many State agencies were issuing conflicting statements on certification.

Mattaka Skips Prison By Paying 35m/ – Fine

By Faustine Kapama

FORMER Managing Director of Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) David Mattaka has opted for the 35m/- fine option, to keep at bay, the 21 years imprisonment sentence imposed on him recently for conspiracy, abuse of position and occasioning loss to the government.

Senior State Attorney Mutalemwa Kisheni confirmed to the ‘Daily News’ in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, that Mattaka paid the fine last Thursday and was subsequently released from Ukonga Prison after showing receipts for authenticating payment.

A re-confirmation was made by an official of the cash office at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate’s Court, where the former ATCL boss was convicted, as well as a senior Prisons Department official who sought anonymity.

Last Wednesday, Senior Resident Magistrate Victoria Nongwa convicted Mattaka and his co-accused, Elisaph Ikombe, who was acting ATCL Chief Finance Officer of the three offences and sentenced them to either pay a 35m/- fine each or serve a 21-year jail term.

Ikombe, who is currently a bishop of Pentecostal Motomoto Church, paid the fine on the same day. Mattaka didn’t raise the money immediately and was taken to prison instead, to start serving the custodial sentence.

The magistrate had sentenced the duo to either pay a fine of 5m/- or serve three years custodial sentence for conspiracy each. A similar sentence was imposed on each of them on five counts of abuse of position and pay a fine of 10m/-; or go to jail for six years for occasioning loss.

The magistrate clarified, however, that in the event of failure to pay the fine, the convicts would be in prison for only six years, as the sentences imposed on them run concurrently.

Magistrate Nongwa further gave the two convicts one month within which to pay compensation to the ATCL a sum of 143,442.75 US dollars, being the loss they occasioned due to their misdeeds.

The amount, she explained, had to be raised jointly by the convicts, noting that she had been satisfied by the evidence tendered in court by 14 prosecution witnesses. She, however, acquitted William Haji, the former Chief Internal Auditor of ATCL, who was charged jointly with the duo, for lack of conclusive evidence.

The three accused persons had been charged with conspiracy, abuse of office and occasioning loss to the State-owned company, a sum of 143,442.75 US dollars. They allegedly conspired to commit the offences between March and July 2007 in Dar es Salaam.

The prosecution had alleged that while discharging their duties, the trio intentionally abused their positions by inviting a tender to supply ATCL 26 motor vehicles without approval of the company’s tender board.

It was alleged that the accused persons abused their positions by procuring the motor vehicles without conducting competitive tendering from Bin Dalmouk Motors Company Limited, a company based in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and by purchasing the vehicles on behalf of ATCL.

Furthermore, the accused allegedly abused their positions by authorizing payments for purchase of the motor vehicles without there being a formal procurement contract between ATCL and the Dubai based Company, which was signed by the parties and certified by a competent state attorney.

Nigeria: Over 50 Perish in Niger Boat Mishap Laleye Dipo in Minna

Photo: Alfredo D’Amato/UNHCR

(file photo).

Not less than 50 persons have been confirmed dead in a boat mishap that occurred at River Kaduna, Kiri village in the Munya Local Government Area of Niger State yesterday.

The deceased were reported to have boarded a canoe from Kiri village heading for the market in Zumba village in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state when they ran into a heavy storm.

The canoe was to be over-loaded with men, women as well as children numbering about 60 whose bodies were yet to be recovered.

When contacted, the Niger State Police Command Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Babalola Adewole, confirmed the incident, saying the command had sent a team of marine police to the area for investigation.

The Niger State Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Public Relations Officer, Malam Hussaini Ibrahim, confirmed that there were 60 passengers on board, stating that four persons were rescued alive while others were yet to be found.

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Odinga – I’m Ready to Face Kenyatta in Fair Repeat Presidential Election

By Titus Oteba

National Super Alliance (Nasa) leaders on Saturday affirmed that they are ready for the October 17 repeat presidential election.

Addressing a charged crowd at the funeral of Kanduyi MP Wafula Wamunyinyi’s father Mathew Wafula at Buema village in Bungoma County, the Nasa team, however, demanded that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) first puts its house in order to ensure a free and fair poll.

Nasa presidential candidate Raila Odinga said that they will not go to the election if the commission does not replace some commissioners and also appoint another firm to print the election materials. Al Ghurair Group printed the ballot papers used on August 8.

The ceremony was momentarily disrupted after angry mourners heckled and roughed up two MPs who are supporting President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election.

LEADERS INTERVENED

Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa (Jubilee) and his Bumula counterpart Mwambu Mabonga (Independent) had a rough time addressing the crowd that was chanting anti-Jubilee slogans.

Things got out of hand after an unapologetic Mr Barasa told the youths that their families will never produce leaders if they disrespect elected MPs.

“Disrespecting elected leaders will lead to a curse and you might never produce one in your entire generation,” he said.

His sentiments did not go down well with the mourners who heckled, accosted and roughed him up.

Nasa leaders and their security detail intervened after which order was restored.

At some point, Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu and some youths tried to get Mr Mwambu to go to the dais and declare his stand on the presidential election but he remained calm in his seat.

ROWDY YOUTHS

“Come forward and talk to mourners. They want to get your stand on whether you support Nasa or Jubilee,” said Dr Simiyu.

Things got out of hand when the rowdy youths surged towards the VIP tents ostensibly to eject the two Jubilee leaders from the venue.

It was Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Mr Wamunyinyi who saved the situation.

“Let us forgive them, I know they now understand that Jubilee has got no place in this region. Let us give them time to think for themselves if they will support the right cause,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

Addressing the mourners, Mr Odinga said Nasa will push for the removal of IEBC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ezra Chiloba whom he accused of working with Jubilee.

“I have some Luhya leaders crying foul that we in Nasa are targeting their own, we are not interested in fighting people from certain communities, we are looking at the sins that person committed, there is glaring evidence that Chiloba has been going to bed with Jubilee leaders,” he said.

EZRA CHILOBA

The former premier noted that Nasa was not fighting for the removal of Mr Chiloba and eight other IEBC officials because of their tribe but because they bungled the August 8 General Election in favour of Jubilee.

“We want partisan IEBC officials removed, PROs and Returning Officers shuffled from their current stations so that we can accept that the next presidential election will be free and fair,” he said.

He called on President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto to stop undermining the Judiciary to force judges to be submissive to them.

“Both IEBC and the Judiciary are independent bodies which should be respected and not interfered with. Let them perform their duties provided they are doing the right thing,” he said.

On his part, Mr Odinga’s running mate Kalonzo Musyoka said that peace will prevail if the repeat election is free and fair.

“Let Jubilee leaders understand that they were not elected by majority Kenyans but they were computer generated; we need real leaders that will be accepted by Kenyans through a free and fair election for peace to prevail,” he said.

ENTICING LEADERS

He said that Jubilee leaders were targeting Western and Eastern regions to get more votes by enticing leaders with goodies and visits to State House.

“They are trying to coerce our leaders to support them but let me tell you even in Ukambani those people who went to State House are regretting why they did so.

“Western and Eastern regions are locked in Nasa and will vote for its presidential candidate,” said Mr Musyoka.

Nasa co-principals Musalia Mudavadi and Mr Wetang’ula asked the Luhya community to rally behind Mr Odinga.

“We want you people to move out in large numbers and vote for Raila, what we want is change, Bungoma has never been Jubilee home turf, our people are in Nasa and will vote for their preferred leader,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

Mr Mudavadi challenged IEBC officials to be neutral if they want Nasa to participate in the repeat race, warning that they will not accept to be led by corrupt individuals who will work with Jubilee to undermine Nasa.

“We want the France-based international organisation that provided the election servers to be kicked out because it refused to open its servers even after the Supreme Court order and went ahead to claim that it did a wonderful job,” he said.

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