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Kwara Matters

Climate change: Kwara closes forest, to launch tree planting

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Kwara State Government has announced at least a month closure of the forest for all activities except farming, expressing worries that indiscriminate activities in the forest are fast disrupting the state’s ecosystem and exposing it to severe effects of climate change.

“The (government) is very worried about the rate of wanton deforestation for both legal and illegal purposes such as charcoal and other wood resources/products without commensurate regeneration,” Commissioner for Environment Architect Aliyu Saifudeen told newsmen in Ilorin, the state capital, on Monday.

“This is causing a tremendous imbalance in our ecosystem and Climate Change. Accordingly, the ministry has taken a painful decision to ‘close the forest’ for all kinds of activities for a minimum period of one month and maximum of three beginning from the 2nd of March to 31st of May 2020. This will enable us take stock of what is left of that natural endowment for further action and the inventory of what goes on therein. Consequently, all economic activities except farming are hereby suspended within the period forthwith with offenders liable to prosecution.

“During and at the end of the closure, all those who have any business to do with the forest are required to make themselves available to the ministry for fresh registration, including farmers whose farmlands are in excess of 25 hectares.”

Saifudeen said the government will embark on massive tree planting to be flagged off by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and Minister of Environment Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar later in May, a step he asserted was needed to address the question of deforestation and climate change.

“There is a policy of cut one tree and plant five and for each new site being developed a number of trees be planted. This has not been complied with totally. A strict adherence to this policy would have salvaged to an extent our predicament of deforestation,” he added, saying the policy would be replicated at every local government area of the state.

Saifudeen, who announced ongoing sensitisation of the populace on the need to sanitise their state, said the government would also embark on enforcement of the law banning obstruction of traffic flow through indiscriminate trading on roadsides and median and street begging.

He lamented that such practices constitute serious threats to millions of people.

“We have received positive feedbacks as it concerns ‘Post Office’ and ‘Challenge’ junctions. I want to use this opportunity to call on road users to adhere to the traffic rules and to our traders to desist forthwith from displaying their wares including firewood on the roads especially on the pedestrian walk ways,” he said.

“Another major concern is the invasion of our road median by beggars and refuse. Affected areas are mostly at Oja Oba, Gambari, Balogun Fulani, Ipata, Idi Ape etc.”

The commissioner, meanwhile, announced a reorganisation of the state waste management contractors for efficiency, saying a new model is being explored to ease the incidents of refuse dumps in the state, especially in the capital.

Calling for mass supper for the state’s environmental sanitation, he also appealed to Kwarans to vacate flood plains and to keep their environment clean and free of refuse to ward off flooding as another rainy season draws near.

“A new and more mechanized approach will be unleashed especially in Ilorin Metropolis by the beginning of April. Preceding the foregoing and in the whole of March, an experimental Waste Management would be conducted strictly by the ministry. All residents are requested to give maximum cooperation to the operatives,” he said.

“We shall soon welcome the rains, we call on residents to embark on the desilting of the gutters and run-off channels around their premises to keep them clean for ease of water flow and make such places uncomfortable for rodents and other vectors of diseases such as mosquitoes and even dangerous reptiles. This is also important to forestall the calamity of flood. The ministry, on its own part, will soon begin the massive desilting of major drainage channels across the city. All those living around the Asa River banks and any other river across the State e.g. in Pategi, Kaiama e.t.c. should ensure zero tolerance for refuse dump into the rivers. We also appeal to those living on flood planes to please quit with immediate effect.”

Folashade  Yusuf 
Press Secretary, Ministry of Environment 
2 March, 2020.

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Kwara Matters

Kwara hails BUA Group chair, Elumelu, UBA for COVID-19 support

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Kwara State Government has commended the chairman of the BUA Group Abdulsamad Rabiu, chairman of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Tony Elumelu, and the United Bank for Africa for their financial support to strengthen the national and subnational campaigns against the spread of Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The government appreciates the N1bn donation that Alhaji Rabiu has made to seven states of the federation including Kwara State to bolster the national response to this pandemic. Similarly, the government is profoundly grateful to Mr Elumelu and the UBA for their donation of a whopping N28.5m to the Kwara State Government to combat this crisis,” Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesman of the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19, said in a statement on Saturday.

“These gestures, which are a Corporate Social Responsibility at its finest, are most welcome at this critical time when government’s resources are understandably stretched because of the global oil crisis partly engineered by this unexpected health emergency that threatens the entire human race.”

The statement said the government needs all the help it can get to face down the pandemic, calling on other corporate bodies and philanthropists to donate to the Technical Committee to help its effort to curtail the virus.

“Donations can be made to the committee through Kwara State COVID-19 Support Bank Account 1022751448 at UBA,” it stated, adding that corporate bodies or individuals wishing to assist the state may either pay into this account, donate essential materials for government to take care of the poor, or do their own private support to persons of their choice.

The committee meanwhile has cautioned people against politicising the global pandemic for selfish gains, adding: “the nature of the enemy we face is such that all hands must be on deck and all of us must forget making any political mileage out of the situation while concentrating our energy only on curtailing it immediately.

“Anyone who wishes to contribute anything should please send it through the right channels. This time calls for sober reflection. It is no time to score cheap political gains at the expense of public health. The human race has never been so vulnerable than it is now and the fight requires all seriousness and sincerity to win.”

Kwara, which is under partial lockdown, currently has no confirmed case of COVID-19 but is working hard to prevent its spread in the state.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Spokesman, Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19.

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Kwara Matters

COVID-19: AbdulRazaq seeks support for Kwara’s preparations

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Sunday rallied support for the state’s campaign to keep Coronavirus (COVID-19) out of the state.

The Governor also announced the donation of 100% of his 10 months salary from May 29, 2019  to date to his administration’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Whereas our state has no confirmed case of Coronavirus as at now, we have been taking every step necessary to ensure we keep Kwara safe. Such measures have included keeping our people at home while we ramp up investments in our capacity to cope with this global health emergency,” AbdulRazaq said in a statement issued by his chief press secretary Rafiu Ajakaye.

“This time calls for sacrifice from everyone as humanity needs all the help it can get. For this reason, I am hereby donating 100% of my monthly salary since May 29, 2019 when I was sworn in to our efforts to prevent this virus from getting to us, provide palliatives to our people, as well as boost our capacity to cope if it ever comes.”

The Governor also commended members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for donating half their monthly salary to the National efforts to fight the virus. 

“I single out my brother and sister Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Senator Gbemisola Saraki, who are both ministers, for their roles in this humanitarian gesture. And, on behalf of the people and government of Kwara State, I express our deepest appreciation to Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu and Mr Tony Elumelu for their generous donations to Kwara State,” the statement added.

“It is against this background that I appeal to all well-meaning corporate bodies and individuals to emulate these great Nigerians by joining our efforts in Kwara State. Donations can be made to the Kwara State Technical Commitee. People may also donate food stuffs for release to the poor people to further ease our campaign to keep the virus out of Kwara.

“Finally, I have directed the technical committee on COVID-19 to begin distribution of palliatives, including food stuffs, to the people this week even as I call on everyone to stay at home and stay safe and maintain social distancing.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
March 29, 2020.

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Kwara Matters

We are in government to serve Kwarans — AbdulRazaq

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Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said his administration is determined to right the wrongs of the past, invest in human capital and physical infrastructural development, and improve the living standards of the people.

“We are in government to serve our people. We have made commitments and we will not disappoint. We were here a year ago to campaign for you and you supported us. Let’s do it again this Saturday by voting Adam Ahmed Rufai of the APC during the by-election,” AbdulRazaq said as he wrapped the campaign for the ruling party in Patigi where a House of Assembly by-election is holding this Saturday.

“We come with a solid team headed by myself, the speaker, Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, former Speaker Benjamin Isa and other key stakeholders in the party. So, I can assure you that Adam Ahmed Rufai is in good company and will be supported in the Assembly.”

Accompanied by top government officials and party chieftains, AbdulRazaq had on Monday flagged off a marathon campaign tour that touched all the affected 10 wards of Patigi where he pointed out his various developmental strides in the local government and elsewhere in the state since his inauguration last year.

He pledged that the government would give the necessary support to farmers by providing farm implements, chemicals and funds to improve yields to guarantee food security. 

“We are aware that some communities do harvest three times in a year. Come with your specific demands on the type of suitable farm implements and we will support you,” he added.

AbdulRazaq said the government was discussing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lend money to those who want fund above N250,000 to support their businesses through the bank’s Anchor Borrowers Scheme. 

He added that the Social Investment Programme, which is due for launch anytime soon, would support smallholder farmers, artisans, small business owners, particularly women, and boost people’s purchasing power.

“You all can testify that we are doing things differently. That is one reason we need you to vote Adam Ahmed Rufai who is a member of our party and shares the vision of this administration,” he said.

Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly Salihu Danladi Yakubu urged voters to come en masse on Saturday and elect Ahmed Rufai to guarantee quality and effective representation at the parliament.

Chairman of  APC in Patigi Muhammad Swasun promised that the party would deliver 100% victory on Saturday’s by-election.

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor 
11 March, 2020.

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