By Dipo Olowookere
As part of activities to mark this year’s ‘World Water Day’ on March 22, 2017 (today), Guinness Nigeria Plc has donated seven new boreholes to a community in Cross River State.
This gesture was also in furtherance of the company’s continued commitment to interventions that transform lives and improve the health and well-being of communities in Nigeria.
The donated hand pump water boreholes were constructed in Bebi Community, Obanliku Local Government Area (LGA) of Cross River State and will serve more than 7,000 persons with year-round access to safe drinking water.
They were commissioned at the weekend at a ceremony held in the community and had officials of Guinness Nigeria Plc in attendance.
The firm’s continued commitment to initiatives that improve access to safe water was underscored at the event by the company’s Corporate Relations Director, Mr Sesan Sobowale, who represented the Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria.
Mr Sobowale noted that the company will continue to play a leading role in enhancing access to safe drinking water in Nigeria.
“The boreholes we are commissioning today are the latest addition to the range of water projects Guinness Nigeria has delivered in states across the country as part of Diageo’s flagship ‘Water of Life’ programme.
“Since 2007, our ‘Water of Life’ programme has provided clean drinking water to over 10 million people in 18 countries in Africa.
“Under the aegis of the ‘Water of Life’ programme in Nigeria, water facilities have been constructed in 35 communities across the country.
“We are pleased to note that through these water projects, Guinness Nigeria has helped over 1.5 million Nigerians access clean water and ultimately improve their overall health and wellbeing,” Mr Sobowale said.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Mr Dan Ebri, Director of Water at the Cross River State Ministry of Water Resources, commended Guinness Nigeria’s commitment to initiatives that promote access to safe drinking water in Nigeria.
“I commend Guinness Nigeria’s commitment to interventions that tackle the challenge of water scarcity in rural areas especially in Cross River State.
“I also thank the company for partnering United Purpose to deliver programmes that have helped Obanliku LGA to achieve ‘open defecation free’ status. The impact your partnership has made is laudable,” he said.
The clan head of Bebi Eastward in Obanliku LGA, His Royal Highness Atung Francis, also expressed the community’s profound appreciation for the donated water facility. He observed that prior to the donation, community members trekked to the hilltop – a distance of about three kilometres-to fetch water.
Guinness Nigeria’s latest intervention in Obanliku LGA comes on the heels of a previous pilot project which facilitated the construction of 10 boreholes in rural communities in Cross River State’s Abi, Bekwarra, and Obanliku LGAs. The pilot project (which was also delivered in partnership with United Purpose) helped over 11,000 people in these LGAs to access safe drinking water, and trained 120 community members on basic borehole maintenance and water resource management.
In his remarks at the commissioning ceremony, the Country Director of United Purpose, Nigeria, Mr Tim Connell acknowledged Guinness Nigeria’s contributions to the SWISH programme in Cross River State.
“I am pleased to see the positive impact we have been able to make in Cross River State partnering Guinness Nigeria.
“Today Obanliku LGA has become the first LGA in Nigeria to achieve ‘open defecation free’ status, and more persons in the local government area now have access to clean drinking water. I would like to thank Guinness Nigeria for its contributions towards these milestones,” he said.
Guinness Nigeria’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Interventions in Cross River State have been delivered under the aegis of the ‘Safe Water and Improved Sanitation and Hygiene’ (SWISH) programme the company has been implementing in collaboration with United Purpose.
United Purpose is the executing agency of the ‘Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria’ (RUSHPIN) programme, a five-year initiative of the UN’s Global Sanitation Fund and the Nigerian government, which uses the empowering ‘Community-led Total Sanitation’ approach to trigger community-wide demand for improved sanitation and hygiene without the use of external subsidies.
Through the RUSHPIN programme, over 2 million rural people in Cross River and Benue states are taking control of their own health by ending open defecation and washing their hands with soap at critical times.
It would be recalled that last year, Guinness Nigeria commissioned water facilities which it constructed in Gwam, Bauchi state (in partnership with Water Aid) and Tyowanye, Benue State (in partnership with OXFAM). These water schemes are currently providing safe drinking water for over 20,000 people living in beneficiary communities.
Supreme Court Affirms Ahmad Lawan as APC Yobe North Senatorial Candidate
By Dipo Olowookere
The president of the senate, Mr Ahmad Lawan, has been affirmed as the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Yobe North Senatorial District.
At a ruling delivered on Monday, February 6, 2023, the Supreme Court nullified the candidacy of Mr Bashir Machina.
Mr Machina and Mr Lawan had been at loggerhead over the party’s ticket for the slot.
The Senate President had contested the APC presidential primary along with the eventual winner of the exercise, Mr Bola Tinubu, and was said to have pushed forward Mr Machina as a placeholder.
However, after he lost in his bid to become the presidential candidate of the party, he turned to Mr Machina, who refused to back down, stressing that it was his turn to represent the senatorial district at the National Assembly and that the Senate President never participated in the party’s primary.
The number three citizen of the country had earlier accepted his fate, but his party took the matter up until today’s judgement, which has restored his hopes of remaining in the upper chamber of the parliament.
Justice Centus Nweze, in the lead judgement, faulted the approach of Mr Machina in commencing the suit at the Federal High Court Damaturu division by way of originating summons and without oral evidence to prove allegations of fraud.
Boss Mustapha Not Working Against Tinubu—APC Group
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A support group of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) known as the APC Mandate Defenders (AMD) has denied claims that the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, was working against the presidential candidate of the party, Mr Bola Tinubu.
In a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of APC Mandate Defenders, Mr Ifeanyi Emeka, the organisation said Mr Mustapha supports the candidacy of the former Governor of Lagos.
He stated that the allegations made against the SGF by another support group of the ruling party, Concerned APC Stakeholders (CAS), were false, describing Mr Mustapha as a well-respected party leader who has great respect and close relationship with Mr Tinubu right from when he was the Deputy National Chairman of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) for Northern Region and would not engage in any real or imaginary plot to sabotage the electoral chances of the APC and its candidate.
According to him, the SGF is preoccupied with the task of meeting the demands of the transitional period, which mostly rests on his office as a frontline secretariat for the presidency as the administration gradually winds down and does not have the time to work against Mr Tinubu.
AMD asked CAS to tell Nigerians how following due process in board appointments for federal government agencies amounts to sabotaging the electoral chances of the party and its candidate in the forthcoming presidential election.
Recall that the SGF had advised Nigerians to be wary of scammers who use his name and office to dupe people while promising them non-existing government appointments.
“Therefore, we urge Nigerians and party members across the federation to ignore the allegation against Boss Mustapha as he cannot be forced into providing appointments to people by threats of blackmails as such responsibility rests squarely on the desk of Mr President and Commander-in-Chief.
“Associating such frustration with the campaigns of the presidential candidate of our great party, Senator Bola Tinubu, by CAS is a diversionary tactic against the overall interest of our party and Nigeria as a nation,” a part of the statement said.
Violent Protest Erupts in Ibadan Over Naira Scarcity
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports of a violent protest in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, over the scarcity of old and new Naira notes, Business Post has gathered.
It was learned that residents of the ancient city are venting their anger over the hardship caused by the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the federal government.
The central bank redesigned the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes and asked citizens to return their old banknotes because they would cease to be legal tender.
However, since the introduction of the new currency notes in circulation on December 15, 2022, many Nigerians have not been able to withdraw their money from banks, fuelling anger in the land.
On Friday afternoon, some residents of Ibadan, especially in Iwo Road, took to the streets to express their frustration at the development, which is coming at a time consumers have to queue for petrol.
They had bonfires on the road and disrupted business activities in some areas of the city.
Recall that today, the Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde, announced the suspension of his campaign activities over the scarcity of Naira and fuel.
Also on Friday, the Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) met with President Muhammadu Buhari to appeal to him to change his mind on the Naira swap policy because of the effect on the people and the 2023 general elections starting later this month.
The President had earlier been asked not to show up in Kano State because of fears of a violent protest over the development. After the deadline was moved forward, the Governor of the state, Mr Abdullahi Ganduje, said he was safe to visit the ancient city.
However, during his visit to Kano, there were reports of a demonstration, with a chopped stoned by some residents of the state and convoys attacked by angry protesters.
The government claimed the protest was not directed at President Buhari, while the opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said otherwise.
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