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Aggrieved Trainees Of ‘Ibom 3000 Project’ Threaten Protest

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Some of the trainees of the 3000 project of Akwa Ibom State Government, who claimed to be abandoned, have threatened to stage a protest.

The state government, through the Ministry of Trade and Investment, had in 2021 commenced the training of 3,000 youths in a scheme meant to identify, train, mentor, empower and build the capacity of existing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and startups across the 31 local councils of the state.

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The scheme was meant to run in three phases with each phase having 1000 trainees who would focus on three areas of choice which included, oil and gas, agribusiness, ICT, and SMEs to enable them to secure gainful employment.

However, the beneficiaries of the project, who have successfully concluded their training on April 2021, have expressed worry that they have neither gotten the certification nor startups as promised by the government over one year of the exercise.

It was gathered that the graduation exercise was stalled following the resignation of the then commissioner, Mr. Prince Akpabio in pursuit of his political ambition.

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A trainee, who identified himself as Mfon, narrated to our correspondent that the new Commissioner, Engr. Camillus Essien Umoh, invited them to the state secretariat for a graduation ceremony but later dismissed them promising to fix another date for the exercise as he was very new in office.

Mfon, who lamented that nothing has been done yet, urged the state government to fulfill its promise by giving them the start-ups so as to put what they learnt into practice adding that they are wasting away.

Another trainee, who did not want her name mentioned for fear of victimisation, regretted that despite the stress they passed through and the monies spent on transportation from her local government, Ikono, to the State Secretariat, Uyo which was their rallying point, she is yet to receive the startups from the government.

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READ ALSO: Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, 29 Others Attract Zero Foreign Investments In Q1 – Report

She said, “the stress was too much. We would go to the Ministry and the car they made available will convey members to different designated training centres around the local government.

“By 4:00 pm they will convey you back to the secretariat where you go back to your destination. It was not easy for some people from far distance, to transport themselves to the state secretariat, some people from Ini, Ibeno really suffered because they paid their way to Uyo. the government told us that at the end of the training they will empower us, but nothing is being done.”

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Also, another trainee identified as Joseph disclosed that they felt abandoned by the state government noting that plans are underway to embark on a protest.

“Upon all the promises by the state government to us during the training, nothing has been done, no empowerment, nothing, and they will be telling us to come today, come tomorrow. We are planning a day to go out for protest because we are not happy at all,” he said.

However, a source in the Ministry of Trade and Investment, who also pleaded anonymity, explained that the graduation ceremony would have taken place in April but following the resignation of then-commissioner, Prince Akpabio to contest for the House of Assembly, the ceremony was stalled.

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He attributed the delay to the rise in the exchange rate adding that the laptops that were supposed to be given to those in ICT were estimated at about N150, 000 each but have risen to N550,000 now adding that the state government is doing something about that.

READ ALSO: APC Has No Governorship Candidate In Akwa Ibom, INEC Declares

According to the source, “from the market survey we conducted so far, the estimated price for laptops has gone up. Another memo has been sent to the governor on the variation so that the Items can be purchased.

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“They should be more patient. If they are given money equivalent they may lavish the money and that may not make meaning to them. The graduation ceremony would be done at the same time.”

DAILY POST

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Boko Haram: Another Chibok Schoolgirl Rescued In Borno

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Troops of Operation Hadin Kai on Thursday said they rescued another Chibok girl from the captivity of terrorists.

The victim was rescued around the Bama axis of Borno State.

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Confirming the incident, Theatre Commander Joint Task Force Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa, said profiling of the rescued girl is ongoing.

Recall that the army had earlier rescued Mary Dauda, one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted in 2014.

READ ALSO: Another Chibok Girl Kidnapped By Boko Haram Found With Baby

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Few weeks ago, the troops also neutralised terrorists of the Islamic State’s West Africa Province in Borno State and intercepted another Chibok girl, Hauwa Joseph, who said she escaped from the Boko Haram camp in Gazuwa during a massive incursion of the troops.

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Tension In Ondo Over Alleged Plan By Bandits To Attack Community

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Tension engulfed communities, towns and cities in Ondo State on Thursday following the rumour that bandits were preparing to attack Ilara-Mokin community in the Ifedore Local Government Area of the state.

The apprehension among residents was hinged on a rumoured letter allegedly sent to Adaba FM, a popular radio station in the state over plans by bandits to launch an attack in the community.

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Following the development, Elizade University, which is situated in the neighborhood, had encouraged parents to dismiss the supposed threat circulating over the alleged planned attack.

The institution claimed that the supposed rumor had been debunked by the appropriate authorities, therefore the university community should disregard the threat.

SP Funmilayo Odulami, the state’s Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, dismissed the letter as a hoax and said that police operatives as well as undercover agents had been dispatched to the community and around the state.

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Also, in a series of announcements on its airwave and news bulletins, Adaba FM emphasized that it did not receive any letter indicating a planned attack by bandits.

Schools were said to have been empty because many parents prevented their children from going to school after the bogus letter was also rumoured to have been validated by the monarch of the community.

“The attention of the university management has been attracted to the material being shared on social media,” stated Omololu Adegbenro, the registrar of Elizade University, in a statement.

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READ ALSO: Owo Massacre: Ondo Community Invokes ‘God Of Iron’ On Attackers

“The originators of the information claimed that the purported letter was submitted to Adaba FM, Ilara-Mokin. They also claimed that His Royal Majesty, the Alara of Ilara-Mokin, Oba Aderemi Adefehinti was fully aware of the letter, adding that the royal father had disseminated the information to members of the community through his Town Crier.

“As management, it is important to clarify that no threat was issued by Bandits/Fulani Herdsmen to attack the community.

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“This information has been strongly refuted by the management of Adaba FM, which has continued to inform members of the public through its news bulletins that no letter of threat was dispatched to the station.”

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EFCC Laments Dearth Of Whistle-blowers, Despite Huge Rewards

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The Economic Financial Crimes Commission has decried the decline in whistleblowing across the country despite the huge rewards the commission offers to whistleblowers.

The Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, on Thursday, at a one-day town hall meeting.

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The programme facilitated me by the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, centred on strengthening the capacity of stakeholders on whistleblowing policy.

Bawa was represented by the Zonal Commander, EFCC, Enugu, Oshodi Johnson.

The EFCC chairman pointed out that at the beginning of the whistleblowing policy, the commission received huge information which, according to him, led to the recovery of “humongous” stolen public funds.

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He disclosed that two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Andrew Yakubu, and the $11m recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

He wondered why the sudden decline and the reason behind it.

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He listed challenges undermining the policy effectiveness to include ignorance of its legal and administrative frameworks as well as difficulties in navigating the complex bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives.

He said, “It is also not impossible that the few false informants who were prosecuted for wanting to turn a serious programme to memes, unnerved some other would-be informants.

“Whatever the challenges are, it is imperative that there is a fresh awakening to sustain the flow of critical intelligence to Nigerian law enforcement agencies.

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“Recall almost with some sense of nostalgia, how a few years ago, precisely on December 21, 2016, the Federal Government introduced the Whistle-blower Policy, which offered some incentives to citizens that provide information leading to the recovery of stolen public funds.

“It was heralded by a frenzy of sorts with a deluge of information by informants, some of which led to the recovery of humongous sums of money by the EFCC.

“Two of the landmark recoveries from whistleblowers’ information were the $9.8m recovered from a former managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Andrew Yakubu, and the $11m recovered at an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

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READ ALSO:;How EFCC Officials Allegedly Tortured Lagos Clubgoers, Forced Out Naked Couple

“After these landmark recoveries and a few others and notwithstanding the fact that those who came forward with useful information received handsome rewards, enthusiasm for the policy appears to have waned a bit.

“It would seem that the policy is experiencing challenges that tend to undermine its effectiveness. Several factors may be responsible for this. But to my mind, the most obvious is lack of adequate understanding of the legal and administrative frameworks of the policy and the difficulties of navigating the labyrinth of bureaucratic processes for claiming the advertised incentives.”

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Bawa pledged the EFCC’s willingness to partner with critical agencies like AFRICMIL and other community-based organisations in strengthening their capacities to identify and quickly report suspected cases of corruption in their communities.

 

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