Tuesday, 20 October 2020

#EndSARS: Avoid protest hijack, give govt., chance to implement demands, group beg youths


Ukorebi Esien | 21st October 2020 

A group known as South South Legacy Forum has called on protesting Nigerian Youths to calm down and give Buhari the benefit of doubt to implement their demands, stating that a prolonged protest may lead to hijack by hooligans. 

This was made known in Calabar, Cross River State capital during a peace walk put together by the group to sensitise the masses on the need to allow government begin implementation of the demands made by the youths of Nigeria. Speaking at the event, Comr. Iso Edim, noted that the #EndSARS protest was legitimate and organised in a peaceful and matured manner, the youths presented their pains and demands and the government have quickly swung into action, therefore they should be given the benefit of the doubt to implement the demands made by the youths. 

He also stated that the agitation wasn't to change SARS to SWAT but a total reformation of policing in Nigeria. 

"We are begging as South South Legacy Group that you should give the government some time to do what they have promised to do. This is an appeal. As your representative, we want to assure you that we will follow the government to the latter".

Speaking further, Comrade Edim cited the instance where the #EndSARS protest has been infiltrated and compromised by faceless hoodlums who have resorted to violence as part of the #EndSARS campaign. Edim therefore argued that given this unfortunate turn of events, the said agitation should be terminated. 

The group made it clear that it is not asking for a complete ceasefire from the protesters but only pleading for a break to nominate youth leaders who will be part of the implementation process, but should the federal government fail to implement the demands of the agitations, the protesters should return to the street. 

Our correspondent cited placards reading "The youth have proven a point, we need to proceed to a round-table" , "We shouldn't allow our agitations to be infiltrated" , "youth say no to violent protest", "let's nominate those to represent us in the government panel". 

Prince Otu @ 61, C'Riverians pours encomium, organize Thanksgiving Service


Sunday, 18th October 2020 was the date, Prince Bassey Otu was the celebrant as all road led to the Voice of God Mission Church along Howell off Mayne Avenue Calabar, Cross River State where a coalition of groups led by Friends of Prince Otu went to Thank God for the life of a former Senator who represented Cross River Southern Senatorial District in the 7th National Assembly. 

Sen. Prince Bassey Otu is an outstanding figure in the politics of Cross River State nay Nigeria, his leadership style is second to none as he has raised several youths from obscurity to limelight, his commitment to human empowerment has been the back bone of his political career as he has severally made it clear that his mission as a politician is to save and serve Humanity. 

It was not surprising then when last year some of his numerous beneficiaries decided to emulate his kind nature by reciprocating his kindness in the lives of others. They formed themselves into a group called "Friends of Prince Otu" and decided to celebrate the kind, handsome lawmaker's birthday by donating items to some motherless homes within Cross River State. This they did with their personal funds. 

As the saying goes the spirit of giving doesn't permit the giver to rest until he has shown another act of kindness, that spirit kept the group going while they kept on doing good. Today the 18th October has been set aside as Prince Otu's friendship day of Kindness where friends and loyalist of the generous politician not only celebrate him but use the day to show kindness to one another and the indigents in the society. 

This year wasn't an exception as friends, supporters, loyalist, beneficiaries etc of Prince Otu gathered at the Voice of God Mission Church for a Thanksgiving Service on the behalf of the ex-lawmaker. 

Speaking during the reception party held immediately after the church service at Zoo Garden Hotels, prominent Cross Riverians took turns to express their gratitude towards Prince Otu while sharing their sweet experiences with him. 

According to a beneficiary of Otu's magnanimity, a trader in Watt Market Popularly known as Mma Tomato, in her words "we are here to celebrate sweet prince because he always celebrated market women and widows with packages for survival and business and we have missed his leadership and we pray God to bless and keep it..."

The event which was organised and sponsored by Friends of Prince Otu" without his knowledge had in attendance many politicians, men and women from  other works of life including leaders of youths and women organizations. 
Former Chairman of Akamkpa LGA, Hon. Polycarp Effiom, Former House of Assembly member representing Biase LGA, Rt. Hon Ngim Okpo, former  secretary of council in Calabar South LGA, Elder Patrick Asikpo and Dr Emmanuel Eyo a Team of of former Councillors led by Hon. Charles Atu Rt. Hon Etim Asido and  Hon. Vivian Edem of  former SA NDDC Hon. Emmanuel Ironbar and several other stakeholders led by Elder Bassey Offiong Bassey 

High point of the event was the blessing of the cake by the guest pastor  Amb. Inyang Eyo as the senator was represented by arch bishop Prof. Barthsy Ojoi and several heart rendering Goodwill Messages from Cross Riverians across political party affiliation

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Dr Linda Ayade leads MDF, Pink Africa to Walk against Breast Cancer in Calabar

In commemoration of the  Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is globally observed on October annually, the wife of the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Dr Linda Ayade, Cross River State Government, collaborated with Pink Africa Foundation (Convener of the walk) and other partners like Mediatrix Development Foundation, Lions Club International, Aruba Hospital, Nurse's association, Labour union amongst others held a breast cancer awareness walk in Calabar, tagged ' Calabar gopink day; beyond walk the talk.

Cross River State First Lady, Dr Linda Ayade who addressed participants at the Calabar Municipality Council Headquarters at the end of the walk disclosed the low level of awareness regarding the disease, its courses and prevention among women and men, coupled with the population not being proactive  enough to leave their comfort zones and go for lifesaving screening for breast cancer," These are the major reasons for poor prognosis of cancers in our environment and increase mortality .

Against this backdrop, Her Excellency said she is calling on women to take advantage of Mediatrix Foundation free Breast cancer screening across the State especially at the grassroots. "Because given requisite information, early screening, early detection and management, most of this cancer related deaths are avoidable", she stressed.

The Cross River State Commissioner for Health and Chairman of Health Commissioners Forum in Nigeria, Dr Betta Edu disclosed that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is one of those sad and most important month of her life. According to her she will continue to  do everything possible to save lives of women, getting as many women as possible to go for breast cancer examination, screening and treatment.

"It is important for both men and women to get regular checkup as breast cancer account for the highest mortality from cancer in women. She commended the wife of the Governor for introducing the grassroots strategy of mobilizing Women in all wards and town criers you bring their fellow women to primary health centers or General hospital for free breast screening this month. She said so far over 20 cases have been picked in the villages with some at very advanced stage needing urgent attention".

We say no to breast cancer devastating our women. That is why we are bringing this life saving message, to all people in our community that early detection, proper management and right habit, is the key to survive breast Cancer scourge", Says Dr Janet Ekpenyong, Director General of Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

Earlier Speaking, Dr Ani Nchewi of Pink Africa Foundation describe cancer as a deadly disease that affects a lot of people. When the good cell of the body stops producing and the body starts producing bad cell resulting to a multitude of bad cells, that health situation can cause cancer.

She said Pink Africa Foundation will continue to play a pivotal role in ensuring incessant lost of lives due to lack of breast cancer screening is avoided. According to her, " women should be breast aware. that unusual difference between the two breasts, that visible lump, dimpling or indentation in the breast tissue, that redness, scaling or other changes to the skin or nipple that appear abnormal, that changes to your nipple that is newly inverted or pulling in, should be the first signals to get you discussing with health experts and then follow with up treatments." The pink Africa Foundation is donating free post Mastectomy bras to women.

In what turned out to be one of the most exciting numerous Breast Cancer Awareness walk, the streets of Calabar metropolis came aglow as passersby were caught in rapt attention, digesting the message and asking questions.

The procession took off from the Eleven Eleven Roundabout where the calabar go pink day was flagged off by the Wife of The Governor Dr Linda Ayade, through Mary slessor to Rabana, Marian Road, and up to Calabar Municipal Council were the Mayor and Chief Host, Hon (Elder) Effefiong Nta Eke received the entire team at the Council Headquarters. The DG of SACA Dr Etcheri Ansa and Lions Club International representative amongst many others were in attendance to marked the breast cancer day while free breast scan for over 200 women happened at same venue.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Obiano supports over 700 Widows and children in Nnewi


Ukpa Ewa |16th October 2020

AWKA: Wife of Anambra State Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano have through her pet project, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) given support to over Seven Hundred (700) widows and children living in Nnewi North and South Local Government Areas of the state. 

The kind hearted first lady had early this month, began a state wide tour to all the local government areas in the state where she has been assisting indigent women and children through Livelihood supports to combat the effect the Covid19 pandemic. 

Speaking during the empowerment tour at Nnewi North and Nnewi South Council Areas respectively, Mrs. Obiano who was represented by the state commissioner for Social Welfare Children and Women Affairs Lady Ndidi Mezue, said the support which is an act of charity borne out of passion and love for humanity will go a long to add value to the People's life. 

The first lady, assured the people of the continuous training of youths, widow's and indigent women on skill acquisition and empowerment through her NGO, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFE.

Earlier in their separate remarks, the Transition Committee Chairman of Nnewi North Council Area Prince Chukwudi Orizu and Nnewi South Engr. Chieloka Henry Okoye described the act of charity of Mrs. Obiano as unforgettable.

Other dignitaries who took turns to speak at the event observed that CAFE through its annual support given to vulnerable people in the state has bridged the social gap for the poor and redefined charity.

The community tour to the respective LGA's  was capped with distrubution of food items and undisclosed sum of money given to the vulnerable people and elderly.

Dignitaries present were Traditional Rulers, Commissioner for Transport Hon. Afam Mbanefo, Zonal Commander Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra also known as OCHA brigade Mr. Emmanuel Obi, State House of Assembly Members,  various women groups and prominent stakeholders. 

FHI 360 partners CAFE to bring medical  succor to Anambra citizens


By: Ukpa Ewa

Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and founder Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has offered free medical outreach to people of Awka North Local Government Area.

The outreach was organised by Family Health International (FHI 360) and Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative in collaboration with Anambra state Ministry of health.

Free screening for HIV and other viral diseases and blood pressure check was carried out in Awka North LGA for over 150 beneficiaries to support the work of Mrs Obiano in her annual community tour across the 21 LGA's of the state.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary Anambra State Health Insurance Agency ASHIA Dr. Simeon Onyemaechi said the free Medical Outreach was an effective approach to early detection of infectious diseases like HIV, viral hepatitis and non-commumicable diseases like Diabetes, high blood pressure among others.

Dr. Onyemaechi who volunteered himself for the free HIV testing administered by the organisation said he availed himself for the screening to encourage others to do same and thereby know their status.

"People should ideally check their HIV status every six months. Screening for other diseases should also be done periodically. The earlier you know, you start seeking medical solutions to avoid complications and untimely death".

More so, he commended the wife of the Governor for her consistency in remembering the downtrodden in the society and giving succour to the poor.

Earlier in his remark, the team leader for FHI360 Community outreach in Awka North LGA Mr. Uzodike Celestine said the outreach was aimed at giving medical checkup to rural dwellers assuring that more communities will be visited to improve lives for human development.

In his vote of thanks, the Transition Committee Chairman of Awka North LGA Mr. Ferdinand Onwuje heartily praised the Wife of the Governor for lifting lives of indigent women, less privileged and giving them hope and a sense of belonging in the society.

Similarly, the Wife of the Governor also visited Njikoka Local Government Headquarters to distribute palliative items to indigent women, widows, elderly and children.

In attendance were Transition Committee Chairman Njikoka Mr. George Ozoh, Royal Fathers, Clergy men, Honourable Members of House of Assembly representing Njikoka I and II Constituencies Hon. Timothy Ifedioramma and Pete Ibida, Commissioner for Women Affairs Lady Ndidi Mezue, Managing Director Anambra Broadcasting Service Chief Uche Nworah, Deputy Chief Press Secretary to Governor Willie Obiano Mr. Emeka Ozumba and other top government functionaries.

Women in Journalism: C'River governor's media aide, Imani gives insight after 10 years of practice

"Journalism is beyond the story, for me, Journalism is a passion. I have always loved to have the opportunity to speak the minds of people... I have been able to bring succour to the voiceless in my own little way through those stories. This alone is fulfilling."

"... I don't think I would have done well in any other field besides journalism. As a journalist, you may not really have the money to give out to people to help in solving their immediate needs, but you are able to identify a challenge, you are able to follow up through these challenges and draw up interventions. Because I ventured into journalism."

Those were the words of, Imani Odey, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade on Electronic Media says, who having spent a decade in journalism, narrates her experience as a female journalist. 

In this exclusive interview with Efio-Ita Nyok of Negroidhaven, mani bares her mind about the challenges, hazards and joys of the profession. She said she is more focused now, than ever to change the perception about women in journalism.


Press: Good morning, Ma. Please may we get to know you.

Imani: My name is Imani Odey. I hail from Bekwarra Local Government Area of Cross River State. I am graduate of the Department of theatre and performing arts of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Press: We are looking at your sojourn into journalism. Can you tell us what your experience has been so far?

Imani: I gained my first media exposure as a corp member. I was posted to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Sokoto Network Center, Sokoto State. That was where this whole journey started, and over these years I have been privileged to work with veterans in the profession.

"I have spent 10 years in practice as a journalist. This first decade has been one I will describe as a learning process for me. You know every veteran was once a novice and I still consider myself in that humble capacity irrespective of what credit people ascribe to me. I tell people that 'I am a moving train, trying to pick speed each and everyday.'

"I have been privileged to attend various trainings and workshops within and outside Cross River State. I have been mentored by some of the big shots in the industry as well as making conscious decisions to match my pals and contemporaries across the world.

"So, in the past ten years, I have tried to improve my writing skills to match various events and to develop my own style of writing because I know originality is key and it is the surest way of getting recognitions.

"I have attended over a thousand events in the last ten years but some are so dear to my heart. 
Imani working on a story

Press: Can you mention a few of those events dear to you?

Imani: Yes, they include; 
1. My amnesty experience while I was with the Nigerian Television Authority
2. Coverage of the money woman marriage in Becheve community of Obanliku Local Government Area 
3. The story of an Obudu community where men speak differently from women
4. Coverage of some Bakassi Strike Force activities, that is the ex militant group
5. The coverage of the Ikot Nkebre community erosion site which brought relief to them amongst others
6. The trade by barter practice in Akpabuyo
7. The story on people who lived in caves for many decades which was referred to as the stone age culture
8. The mentally challenged family that got rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society
9. The community where the first shot was fired that sparked the Nigerian Civil War 
10. The historic Lugard wall which demarcated the northern and southern protectorates and could have been an international boundary as well as 
11. A series of reportage on the condition of Bakassi returnees which has attracted more attention to them to mention a few.

Press: Amongst all these, which made you the most excited?

  Imani in a local community gathering her report 

Imani: That would be the coverage of the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex militants in the Niger Delta region. I was privileged to be the only NTA reporter for both local and Network news as at that time who did that.

"They were trained by the Foundation For Ethnic Harmony In Nigeria (FEHN) under the supervision of its then chairman, Barrister Allen Onyema at the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Orientation camp, Obubura.

"That was the first major event I covered as a staff of NTA. I also served as the Cross River State Government house correspondent for three years before seeking for a newer experience with Channels Television, shortly after resigning my appointment with NTA."

Press: How did that shape your ability to search for news?

Imani: In many ways than I ever imagined. As  a staff of Channels TV, I got posted to Government House Calabar, but my duties were not limited to government and its activities. I had the opportunity to take adventurous moves which grew my passion for community reporting and other forms of investigative journalism.
"My encounters with militants, 'the Bakassi Strike Force,' exposed their activities in the peak of militancy in the various creeks of Bakassi which later paved way for their denouncement and amnesty from the government.

"The experience is unforgettable, having left my six months baby at home to get that story out is a proof of my passion for the profession. I saw sophisticated weapons in their numbers for the first time ever, at first I regretted taking this adventurous move, I was scared to my bone marrow but I later summoned courage and let go of my fears.

"Asides that, I am also proud that, the Bakassi returnees can boast of decent accomodation today. It took me six years of constant reporting on their plight through thick and thin to achieve that.

"I am happy for the interventions by the Governor Ben Ayade-led government in which they are now enjoying.

"They had lived in classroom blocks through the previous years under harsh conditions with little or no hope to experience a new life outside what they were used to as returnees.

"I still recall a woman who died during child birth in one of the classrooms arising from pregnancy related complications. Many more had also lost their lives in other preventable circumstances. I am glad that, the narrative is gradually changing for them.

"On other infrastructural needs, several "Save Our Souls" reportage on the Calabar - Ikom - Katsina-Ala highway as well as the Calabar - Itu - Ikot-Ekpene drew the attention of the government. In fact, I remember the Biase axis of the Calabar - Ikom section had caved in, but there was prompt response. 

"Through these years, I also followed up on a story of a trending picture posted by one Progress Oberiko, who raised alarm about the condition of a mentally deranged family who had roamed various streets in the northern senatorial district of the state hoping on fate for survival. Their condition got me worried which led me to seek ways of reaching out to relevant agencies for intervention.

"With lots of follow-ups, the family as at my last check a little above a year ago are all mentally and psychologically balanced and now independent and enterprising."
With Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa

Press: Your report on the money woman marriage story was topical for weeks, shed more light on the experience.

Imani: The money woman marriage practice in Nigeria is a cultural practice that dates back to centuries ago where young girls are given to older men to offset debts owed by family members either in form of money or farm produce. In some cases, you find a toddler or a kid of 12 years given to a 60 year old man. Through the help of a missionary, Pastor Richards Akonam and a few colleagues, it was exposed through a thorough investigation by my report on Channels Television. Other media outlets followed suite.

"It was truly a heart wrenching experience for me that still hurts each time I think of it. The story is available on ChannelsTV website.

Press: The Bakassi returnees, your principal has relocated them, is there a sense of fulfillment in that? Especially being the one who told the story and is now involved in the resettlement as an aide?

Imani: I really want to commend the governor of Cross River State for what he did for the Bakassi returnees. This is a story I followed up selflessly for six years and I remember visiting them severally in their classroom blocks where they lived through these years. No matter how hardened you are, each time one visits that place, the truth is you will be moved to tears because of their predicaments.

"They cooked where they lived, about fifty of them clustered in each classrooms.  The men, women and children all co-habited there. These are people displaced for no fault of theirs. Shortly after the governor assumed office and paid a first visit to their temporary camp at Saint Mark's primary school, Akpabuyo, he was moved to tears and had promised to to relocate them from that place to a better location.

"Today the story is different. He has relocated them. I really want to commend my boss, Prof. Ben Ayade for what he did for the Bakassi people. It is something we should celebrate him for. We should celebrate the governor for bringing succour to these people.

"I recently visited them at their new apartment and they were excited to have moved in and trying to pick up the pieces of their lives back."

Press: Does this mean journalism for you is more about stories you are passionate about?

Imani: Journalism is a passion. I have always loved to have the opportunity to speak the minds of people. Besides, I don't think I would have done well in any other field besides journalism. As a journalist, you may not really have the money to give out to people to help in solving their immediate needs, but you are able to identify a challenge, you are able to follow up through these challenges and draw up interventions. Because I ventured into journalism, I have been able to bring succour to the voiceless in my own little way.

Press: Asides having to leave your child behind, what other challenges have you faced?

Imani: Every job comes with its level of challenges and especially a high and tasking job like the media job. Every day we face new challenges but the mind is what determines growth or downfall, so I have tried to turn challenges into opportunities.

"First as a young professional, I wasn't accepted and welcomed into the industry the way I wanted. I felt I was going to be celebrated and encouraged by everyone I meet. But, unfortunately, they had some assignments where they never logged me into, and others where they felt I won't perform well but by God's grace, I gave in my best and got results. Many also  felt I was too young and for being a woman but these are not new huddles, they were there before I came, and will be there when I retire. These challenges will still be there.

"Another challenge is the fact that,every interested party wants your story to speak their minds and if you try to balance the story up, you will be tagged biased.

"I remember working on elections duties while I was heavily pregnant, I was attacked by some law enforcement agents without them minding my condition.

"I remember also being tracked by security personnel during the peak of militancy in Bakassi. It was demoralising and pathetic but all the same, I did not give up, I had to step up and show pictorial evidence to events.

"Very recently, I was summoned to the electoral tribunal to stand as a witness against the report I made during the elections, I would have felt pained but I saw it as another challenge and obstacle I needed to jump over.

"Most people feel it is a male dominated profession forgetting the fact that women are gradually taking over now. In the course of doing my job, I have traveled by sea in turbulent weather conditions, I have traveled by land to hard to reach communities. I have risked my life severally in getting out most of these stories. Most men won't even want to dare that and when they watch these demanding reports, they are forced to believe that what a man can do, a woman can even do it better.

"Most women want to see other women succeed but some men who are supposed to support you as a woman feel threatened because of the acceptance one is gaining in the society. 

"I want to use this medium to appreciate some male veterans and colleagues who have stood by me, giving me priceless advices and defending me when the need arises in my journey so far in the media practice."

Press: You are now an aide to the Governor of Cross River State, how did the transition feel like? 

Imani: I did not see the appointment coming, my mind wasn't fixed on getting any appointment as at when it came. I got to know about the appointment few hours before it was announced. When it was first announced in 2019, shortly after my principal's inauguration for a second term in office, many people tried to speak me out of it, I had to go on consultations with some of my senior colleagues, mentors as well as those who play fatherly roles in my life; I told them my plans and how professional I was going to be of which today many have seen it.

"Upon acceptance of the appointment, I gave myself sometime to study the environment and later came up with my own strategy of making a difference and immediately I got inspired to start up something that wasn't in existence in the State. I began making short videos of the Governor's activities to amplify his achievements. 

"The videos are usually circulated to different online platforms and are watched across the globe. We have been consistent in this regard and most people are gradually adapting same. I am glad that I set the pace using my office (Smiles).

"Prior to accepting this appointment, I had spoken with my boss, the Governor, Senator Ben Ayade on my plans and the approach to my job, which he approved of.

"So, it's not totally different from working with a media firm and working for government. Both assignments are targeted at the same course.

"Again, rather than looking out for all angles of a story, my main target now is my principal and how to give him the best PR. I am concerned about what my principal does and how it affects the lives of people especially those in the grassroots.

Community Reporting 

Press: What is your position on the debate about who manages the image of a public office holder, A PR Expert or a Journalist?

Imani: I think if you hire one with experience you tend to achieve better results. I remember when I just got appointed into government, some of the first persons who called to congratulate me were my superiors at Channels TV, other professional colleagues with experiences in government, Mr. Anietie Akpan of Guardian Newspaper, Mr. Bassey Inyang of This Day Newspaper, Mudiaga Affe of Punch Newspaper, Nicolas Kalu of Nation Newspaper, George Odok of NAN, Eyo Charles of Daily Trust Newspaper, Eme Offiong of Voice of Nigeria, Umo Bassey-Edet, the then acting HOD of the news and current affairs department, NTA Calabar,
Rasheed Olanrewaju of AIT, Sunny Inah of CRBC and others all called to felicitate with me.

At different intervals, "They told me that this was one appointment the governor really got right. One told me, 'Imani, you have the experience and we believe that, you will deliver on the mandate.'

"So, if you hire someone with experience you are able to deliver on the mandate and leave foot prints in the sands of time."

Press: From your experience as a journalist and then a public officer, what do you think are the major needs of an average Nigerian?

Imani: Nigerians don't really require much from government if you ask me. We just need the basics. Power, water, quality and affordable health services, infrastructure and security because we are resilient and keep thriving no matter the odds.

Press: When you look at the gender balance, is the woman at an advantage or disadvantaged?

Imani: The woman is disadvantaged but with lots of sensitization and breakthroughs by other successful women over the years, more women are clamouring to make positive changes in the society.

"The female body is easily adaptable to any condition, be it stress or pain,we try and adapt.

"Some people see us as the weaker gender, but deep down, every goal driven woman would want to make an impact and stand independently in making her name and leaving legacies.

"Some people feel that women in journalism are loose, that they are easily cajoled and people always take advantaged of. But, trust me, it is not true. Yes, there may be a few individuals, but, it is unfair to hastily generalize what a few may do without any research conducted.

"In fact, many women have stood their grounds and made better investigative jobs the same way most men have. You remember the BBC reporter who exposed the sex for grade scandal in some public universities?

"We work in various hard terrains and war regions, I have been opportuned to speak with someone who has been in the front line reporting about the Boko Haram incident in Maiduguri, and she is doing better than some of her male colleagues."

Press: What is your advice for upcoming Nigerian journalists on the do's and don'ts in order to get their foot in the industry.

Imani: They need to be driven by passion because if you don't have passion for the job, you won't be able to leave legacies behind.

"Don't put money in front of you, don't try to be popular by being controversial, be professional in your reports. Write and talk with evidence, be thorough, don't rush into conclusions without making findings. The money will come, recognitions will come as well as recommendations.

"The truth is, I still see myself as a novice in the profession. 10 years is not enough to rate myself in the league of veterans. So, upcoming professionals should not think they have arrived when they have not. Let your work announce you to the world. You don't need to keep blowing your trumpet at every given time. The men should try to encourage women in the profession."

Press: What do you think mainstream journalists need to improve their career and the practice of journalism in Nigeria?

Imani: First, we should make conscious efforts towards self development by investing in one's capacity.

"Professional bodies should organise in-house trainings to develop the skills of their members.

"Government should from time to time subsidize tuition fees for journalists to encourage them attend seasonal trainings on professional courses both within and outside the country.

"We need support from various organizations. Channels TV has been at the front burner in this regard so far."

Press: You have shared your experience, but do you think journalism has impacted positively on Nigeria and Nigerians in the past ten years?

Imani: Absolutely yes and you can put that in capital letters.

"Most of the human angle stories I had done got interventions as earlier highlighted.

"You heard of the sex for grades scandals in universities across the country. A female reporter from the BBC carried out that investigation and you will agree with me that since that time after the news broke, most lecturers are now being careful of their relationship with female students. 

"That is what journalism does. It changes the perception of people in a positive light.

"I still believe in the journalism profession. Well, the issue now is most people are not factual in their reports. Most people are quick to criticizing without evidence. And that's what makes people want to lose faith in journalism. 

"The media will be appreciated more if journalists criticize constructively and carry out investigations before publications."
Imani with a colleague from NAN

Press: Have you received any commendation in the form of an award so far?

Imani: Yes, I have received a couple of awards but I will speak on one of the most recent which came from the National Association Of Women Journalists at the 30th anniversary of the body (smiles).

"Recently, I was awarded by the national women body in recognition of a scary story I did at the peak of militancy in Bakassi.

"Many people who watched the report while it trended commended my guts for getting that story out through the help of Channels TV."

NegroidHaven: Reflecting on your journey so far, there must be some people you want to thank right?

Imani: My first decade of journalism practice, I must confess has really been worthwhile.

"I am thankful to God almighty for the gift of life, wisdom, preservation and provision. 

"I am grateful to my boss, the Governor of Cross River State for believing in my capabilities.

"I am grateful to the NTA family for nurturing my journalism dream and to the management and staff of Channels Television for keeping the dream alive.

"I appreciate my supporters for their prayers, advices and believing in my style of journalism.

Umo Bassey-Edet has solidly stood by me through these years in ensuring that, I become a global brand someday soon.

"For my family, their support has been endless. I can't thank them enough for the constant pat on the back.

"As for my dearest daddy, his legacies will forever live on (sobs). May he continue to rest in peace."

Press: Thank you very much for your time.

Imani: You are welcome.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

C'River Ministry of Int'l Dev., to support Para sports in the state


The Commissioner of Ministry for International Development, Dr. Inyang Asibong has said that her ministry will partner with relevant MDA's in the state and beyond to ensure Para sports participants in the state compete in national and international sporting events. 

Dr. Asibong made this known while addressing the spectators during a novelty football match tagged "Match for the Vulnerable" put together by the Paradise Para-soccer and the state the Cross River State Ministry of Youths and Cinematography to celebrate the Nation's 60th birthday in Calabar. 

Speaking at the event which was aimed at giving back to humanity in support of physically challenged persons on Independence Day,  the Cross River State Commissioner for International Development, Dr Inyang Asibong  who joined her counterpart from the Ministry of Sports and Cinematography, Chief Offu Aya to flag off the the 2020 Para-soccer novelty Match, said the tournament  is a platform to celebrate the unity in diversity of Nigeria and indivisibility of Nigeria beginning with Cross River State. 

"I am happy that the Ministry of Sports has assured them of their participation at National and International competitions, and as a Ministry with Global presence, we are going to partner and support them." The elegant commissioner noted. 

"Governor Ben Ayade is particularly interested in the vulnerables whom despite their challenges , have the resilience to do something noble that can bring Cross River and Nigeria to International focus." She added.

The Event was attended by the Commissioner for Sports and Cinematography as well as other top government functionaries.
I am reabsorbing you out of compassion, Ayade to 2500 delisted workers


Finally, the Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade has bowed to pressure as he has began the process of screening the over 2500 delisted state civil servants who have not been paid paid salaries for over 13 months. 

Ayade had during the screening process address the about to be reabsorbed workers, in his speech the governor said they were delisted because their appointment were done behind his back without his consent and knowledge. 

 "when I came in because staff there had not been paid for a very long time, because they were ad-hoc staff. I decided to convert them to permanent staff, made them civil servants, payrolled them and paid their backlog"

Asking the affected workers to put him in their shoes, Ayade inquired, "If you were the governor of the state and you suddenly discovered an additional 2,500 staff on your payroll that you did not authorize, that you did not know about, nobody consulted you, what will you do?

The governor who had earlier bragged that he ended an 18 years old employment embargo informed the worker that he was only reabsorbing them out of mere compassion, stating that despite the state's dire financial status, his administration has recruited thousands workers into the civil service since assuming office in 2015.

Nija@60: Ekpenyong salutes Ayade, urge C'Riverians to be hopeful

The Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency, Dr Janet Ekpenyong, felicitates, with the Cross River State Government and it's people on the occasion of the nation's Diamond Jubilee Celebration.

Dr Ekpenyong who commended the current state Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, past  Governors and their team for laying a great foundation for the state, urged Cross Riverians to remain hopeful in spite of the challenges we are facing as a nation.

She therefore call on all Cross Riverians to leverage on the gains of the current administration in areas of Improved Healthcare delivery, as she read out praises to  the Governor for prioritizing health for the citizens.

"It has been 60 amazing years for us as a nation, we have had our ups and we have had our downs as well, but where we are heading to is more glorious than where we are now. we must appreciate the efforts of our founding fathers especially the current Governor, Senator Ben Ayade, our past leaders both civilians and the military administrators for their contributions towards the Cross River State we now enjoy We are privileged to have a health friendly Governor who have demonstrated his love and bias towards the health sector"

"Within the last few years, your Administration has recorded giant strides in the area of healthcare which today, citizens are able to access basic healthcare services that are affordable, available, accessible and reliable.
We in the primary Healthcare sector are proud to be listed among states with a functional and active service delivery scheme, just recently as Nigeria was certified wild polio free, honours and recognitions were made to proactive states which Cross River State is inclusive.

As an Agency, we will continue to improve on our services be it Immunization, child and maternal health care services, infectious diseases and all other services within our scope of operation.

In line with Senator Ben Ayade's mandate for the state to attain the universal Health Coverage Status, we have devise means by which we can now take health services to our people irrespective of where they are.

I wish all Nigerians a very happy and fruitful celebration as I must continue to advise that all of our people seek the advice of professionals in handling their medical predicaments, we must rise as a nation to say no quackery, say no to self medication and indiscrimate drug use.

Long Live Senator Prof Ben Ayade
Long live Cross River State and Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Obiano Commits self to Empowering Women In Anambra state, gives support to indigents


Ukpa Ewa | 7th October 2020

AWKA: Wife of the Governor of Anambra State and founder of  charity-based organization, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), Dr. Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano has restated her commitment in Empowering Women through her NGO.

Mrs. Obiano gave the assurance yesterday while empowering 1,705 indigent persons at Orumba North and Orumba South Local Government Areas with palliatives in her annual tour.

The beneficiaries, mostly women, the elderly, the physically challenged and children, were selected from each of the 31 communities that make up the two local Government Areas. 

Speaking at the respective Council Areas, Mrs. Obiano explained that the tour was essential to touch lives of indigent women at grassroots and feel the pulse of the people amidst the COVID -19  pandemic. 

Describing the period as a time of great need for the people, especially the poor, the Governor's wife, however, highlighted the complementary role her NGO Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE) plays in alienating the plights of indigent women and more so, contribute to the socio-economic development of the state.

In his remark, the former Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Chief Emeka Sibeudu, who spoke at Orumba South, described the governor's wife as an epitome of kindness due to her humanitarian programmes which she has sustained for seven years in Anambra State.

Also, Member representing Orumba North and Majority Leader at the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon Emeka Aforka and Member representing Orumba South constituency Engr. Emmanuel Nwafor noted that this year's visit was unique because the indigent who were most vulnerable to the economic setbacks of COVID-19 can now draw strength and hope from the gesture and kind words of Mrs. Obiano. 

Earlier, Commissioner for Children and Women Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, welcomed the wife of Governor on behalf of the beneficiaries and thanked her for defying prevailing odds to ensure that the palliatives got across to most communities. 

Similarly, the Commissioner for Housing, Arch. Mike Okonkwo, said that the tour has become a liberating experience given the large number of people that benefit from the palliative annually.

Earlier in their welcome addresses, the Transition Committee Chairmen of Orumba North and Oruba South Local Government Areas, Barrister Obinna Ikwueto and Hon. Cyprain Okereke stated that having defied the difficulties associated with the Coronavirus pandemic to embark on the this year's tour, the Wife of the Governor has proven that her love for the helpless remains unparalleled. 

Dignitaries present at the occasion include: Special Adviser to Governor Willie Obiano on Chieftaincy Matters and Community Liason, Mrs. Vera-Queen Okonkwo, Special Adviser on Special Duties, Mrs Ify Obinabo, former chairman of the defunct National Electoral Commission Prof. Humphrey Nwosu,  Dr. Forster Ihejiofor , PG Umunze Progressive Union Mr. John Akenyeonu among others.

Mrs. Obiano continues her tour of Local Government Areas in the state by distributing cash gifts, food items and educational materials to school children across the state to caution the effect of COVID -19 among indigent women.