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How Helping an Out of School Boy Spur Me into NGO Work – Lidwine

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Founder Lea Global Welfare Initiative Lidwine-Lea Olivier Ameh
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In the wake of COVID-19 Pandemic that is ravaging the entire world, activities were almost brought to total halt with enormous humanitarian crisis. In this interview with the founder of a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Lea Global Welfare Initiative, Lidwine-Lea Olivier Ameh, the Online Editor and Social Media Strategist, AbdulRahman Obaje, peruse the extent of impact the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the Lockdown had on her NGO. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Excerpts:

My name is Abdulrahman Obaje, an Online Editor and Social Media Strategist, may I meet you?

Thank you very much my name is Lidwine-Lea Olivier Ameh, I am the founder of Lea Global Welfare Initiative. An initiative that has been on for the past 3 years now. We have been working and working committedly and dedicatedly to ensuring that the welfare of Nigerians children, women and youths, and other people in Africa are being met. We have done that by reaching out to children, reaching out to the youths and reaching out to women.

We have very strong passion for widows and we have from our program, reached out to as much widows as we can, women, children this we are doing with individual help. We are organization that have decided to open up that light and make people realize that the welfare of every individuals matter.

When you ignore the welfare of an individual, it affects the person in question, it affects the society, and it affect the nation.

So we took this project and started it with one person and in the last couples of years now we have been able to reach out to as many children we know

For how long have you been in existence?

We have actually being officially in existence since 2018 but unofficially, we started our activity in 2017.

So, within this 3 years of your operation, what are your achievements?

Since 2017 we started, we have been able to create a back to school program. We have run several programs, one of which is our back to school program where we have been able to send back children that are out of school back to school and also children that are in school, we have created motivational program for them. Engaging them in intra-inter-school competition.

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This has been able to help and gear up those that are in school and for children totally out of school, they have been put back to school, with their school fees paid, uniforms, books and every necessary things they need to get back to school. That is in the area of children.

Where women are concern, we created training programs for women which we tagged ‘Teach Them to Fish’. We teach them how to setup their own businesses, in the areas of Agriculture, teaching women basically from a small means.

For those that does not have any skill at all, it could be from knitting, to sowing, to hairdressing and to as, any things as what they can use to help themselves.

And for the youths, we embarked on different school leadership program so that they can know the importance of being leaders of our tomorrow.

In your profile, there is a boy, Benjamin, Did you said that Benjamin was the motivation, I mean how did you got started with the NGO work?

The NGO work actually started in 2017 with just that very, boy, Benjamin Nahari. Benjamin was out strolling at school hours looking for a means, something to do, a job to do and when he was questioned by the NGO, he said he needed to work, whatever he could do, from cutting grasses to washing plates for people, so that he could pay up his school fees.

Benjamin was taken up and he was put back to school and his school fees was paid.

And that was a motivating factor for me. And having done that, we realized that there are over a hundred people like Benjamin out of school and we started one by one assisting those we could help back to school with a means we could start with.

At what age did you helped Benjamin and where is Benjamin now?

Benjamin at that age was nine. Benjamin currently and at that time Benjamin was in primary four. Benjamin has finished his primary school and he was a boy who was living with his grand-parent. Apparently, his mother was late and his father was living back in Taraba State. So Benjamin after his primary school was able to successfully go back to his father to continue his secondary.

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Benjamin assistance continued until he finished his primary school.

So, how is the COVID-19 Pandemic affecting your operations, looking at its ravaging effects on the entire world; and how have you been coping?

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global health challenge that affected every organization, every sector, both government and private, and we are not left out.

This made it to be very difficult for us to access donor agencies and most of our beneficiaries. Our activities slated for the year 2020 has be grounded and shifted to the next year. So, I would tell you that things has not been easy in the face of the pandemic and the lockdown.

What is your take on the recent #EndSARS protest?

Looking at the protest, I would say it was a peaceful protest and their demands were actually legitimate. Looking at the demands of the people, protesters. But when you look at it holistically, you also look at the part of the government. The government has also been able to do something to an extent but I believed that the government can still look deeper and do more. They are trying but I believe they can still take a mile step forward to meeting and being able to sorting everything out.

Are you aware that there are different government programs, something like the CBN AGSMEIS, what is your plan in accessing this programmes for your beneficiaries and what are your constraints?

Thank you very much. We as an organization and as a body, intend to partner with the government and other stakeholders to let them come in and see what we are doing. Why? Because, the training we take on especially in the agricultural sector need the individual and the parties involved including the government to come in and see what we are doing and support what we are doing financially and what have you.

We need as much supports as we can get from them because it would go a long way to sorting lot of issues that is on ground right now

So, what is your message to the government and the people?

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My message to the government is that I have a laid a carpet down, inviting the government to come in and support Lea Global Welfare Initiative. Why should government support Lea Global Welfare Initiative? Government should support us because Lea Global has the access to the youth that are out there hanging out not doing anything. Lea Global is able to annex them together put them on training and be able to move them forward. Give them the leadership skill they need to be able to work with government

And for the women, we have the platform to organize as many women as possible. We are reaching out to as many widows and through our organization, the widows would see also what the government is doing for them.

For the individuals, we are inviting them also to come in and partner with us to support as many women, as much youths and as many children that are outside there, out of schools. On your own, you can’t do it, but when you come together as a body, you can be sure that your support is getting somewhere.

Our watch word is transparency, so you know that what you are putting in, you are getting back. Thank you.

Author Profile

Abdulrahman Obaje
Abdulrahman Obaje
Prince Abdulrahman Obaje is a Media, Information and Computer Technology Consultant. A quintessential Journalist, online marketer, social media strategist, Mathematician and Computer Scientist is based in Abuja, Nigeria. He is the Founder and the Publisher of The Informavores!. You can reach me on +234 805 939 5252 or send i-witness report directly to me on news@informavores.com.ng.

Interviews

Why I seek Urgent Intervention on Karim and Wurkin Ethnic Crisis – Hon Lauya

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Hon Mohamed Lauya is a first time, People Democratic Party, PDP House of Representative Member representing Ardo-kola, Lau, Karim-Lamido Federal Constituency. In this interview with Informavores’ Ogechi Okorie, Hon Mohamed Lauya who moved a motion on the urgent need to intervene in the recurring communal crisis between Karim and Wurkin ethnic group over Karim Chieftaincy in the Karim -Lamido Local Government of Taraba State sheds more light on the crisis that has devastated over 30 communities
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Hon Mohamed Lauya is a first time, People Democratic Party, PDP House of Representative Member representing Ardo-kola, Lau, Karim-Lamido Federal Constituency. In this interview with Informavores’ Ogechi Okorie, Hon Mohamed Lauya who moved a motion on the urgent need to intervene in the recurring communal crisis between Karim and Wurkin ethnic group over Karim Chieftaincy in the Karim -Lamido Local Government of Taraba State sheds more light on the crisis that has devastated over 30 communities. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The Excerpts:

You recently moved a motion on the Chieftaincy tussle in Taraba State. What prompted you to move that motion?

The reason behind the motion is the pain I saw in the eyes of the people of that community and not because of the crisis of the Chieftaincy title. If there is a way those people behind the crisis should be expunged from the planet, I will gladly do it. These are people who intermarry for ages. You see a 40-45 years old man that the mother is from the other tribe and the father is from the next one and they took up arms. What will possibly push some people to take up arms against that they have very good rapport with? Honestly it is uncalled for and condemnable and any of these should be condemned in all its entirety.

If you know the kind of suffering these people are going through now, you will feel their pain and when I presented the motion on the floor of the House, it came from my heart and because of the severity of the situation, I feel so pained. I have to give a lot of credit to my Governor because of the way he immediately swung into action to calm the situation down and considering the fact that he was once in the Military and he has the experience and capacity to govern the State and with a multifaceted society like Taraba State that have hundreds of different tribes. I cannot thank the Governor enough because of his proactive efforts towards the situation. In fact at the point, both Christians and Muslims and even leaders and people outside the State were praying earnestly and God really intervened

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And that is why I have to do what I have to do by contributing my own quota by bringing it to the fore

You have been in the oil sector for some years now and also a member of PENGASSAN, How will your experience there reflect on the floor of the House?

Trade unionism in NNPC is quite different from what is happening here but the processes are the same. The only thing is that PENGASSAN is a controlled and organised Association where you have well trained people that knows what to do and before you talk, you must know what you are talking about but in Nigerian Politics is quite different. Someone from the street will just come and challenge you and there is nothing you can do. So they are different but the bottom line is, for you to speak to your people for you to be passionate about people in PENGASSAN and because of how passionate I was with my members (those I was given the opportunity to lead) in various stages of our Association where I was before and now, I am in Politics, the experience I got in PENGASSAN has made it easier for me to fit in

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Not too long ago, election took place for the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives, how do you feel about the emergence of Hon Tajudeen Abbas as the Speaker of the House of Representatives?

I was very happy with the outcome. If you come to the Speaker, you will see that he is humility personified and the Deputy Speaker is a perfect gentleman so the combination is just perfect. The Deputy Speaker too is a humble individual as well and he is someone I have grown close to. We went out for an oversight one time and he refused to enter the bus until every other person has entered. And the Speaker himself is just someone that has a heart of gold and is only when you go close that you will really know them. I believe Nigeria is blessed to have them as the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives and with what played out in the floor of the House during the election, you will know that he is loved by practically everyone. To have 353 members out of 360 vote for you is not an easy feat to achieve.

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How are you going to impact on the lives of the people of your constituency in terms of empowerment and programmes?

I will do something totally different from what it used to be .I am going to focus on the youths and women in my constituency and as long as I am here, I will embark on  programmes and projects that will impact positively on the lives of my people .

Finally Sir, do you subscribe to State police?

This particular issue has been in the front burner in the National discuss for a long time and we have those who are for it and those who are against it and I am a new comer, I am going to take a critical look at it, view it based on the interest of Nigerians. Whatever happens, I will support the right thing.

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Education

Why I Support Fuel Subsidy Removal, How State Police Can Work – University Don

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Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi, Professor of Clinical Anatomy and Medical Anthropology, and the current Vice Chancellor of Nigeria British University Asa, Abia State
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The fuel subsidy removal is the most serious issue that greeted the President Bola Tinubu led FG Administration with mixed reactions from every quarter within and outside the country. In this interview with Professor Hakeem Fawehinmi, Professor of Clinical Anatomy and Medical Anthropology, and the current Vice Chancellor of Nigeria British University Asa, Abia State, by Informavores National Assembly Correspondent, Ogechi Okorie, the issue of Fuel Subsidy removal, State Police, Education among others were discussed. js"> adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The excerpt:

Following the removal of fuel subsidy by the president and the Mixed reactions that follow, what is your thought on the issue of fuel subsidy removal?

In my opinion, it is a courageous step. I command the President for doing that. I have never really been an ardent supporter of the President but any President that removes subsidy now is time and infact removal of fuel subsidy is long overdue because a lot of people think that it is poverty alleviation policy but I can tell you that it is still the rich that benefits from it more than the poor. it is the rich who drives Air conditioned vehicles. It is another way of tasking the rich for the poor. if the Government is responsive and responsive and again, the merging of the exchange rate is a step in the right direction. Let the market forces determine the price of the dollar or pound in the foreign exchange market and not artificial means of using Government money and our foreign exchange reserves in the name of supporting manufacturers to bring down prices .So for to me, it is good. Ordinarily a President who come at such a time and with not knowing the possible outcome of the Presidential petition tribunal will want to play to the gallery and come up with policies that looks like welfarist policies in a bid to hoodwink the masses but the President is going ahead taking courageous steps which I see some elements of sincerity of purpose

Not too long ago, Nigeria has an alarming number of out-of-school children. What must the Government do to make sure that the number is reduced?

The Government must improve on the security situation in the country especially in the North East. You don’t expect Families who has been displaced because of insurgency to be talking about Education or putting Education of their children in the front burner when they are
Iiving as refugees in other places

Talking about Education, the President recently signed the student loan bill and a lot of stringet conditions were attached to it. it would have been a welcome development but with the conditions attached to it, are there doubts on its workability?

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I don’t support it because anything that has to do with a large no of people in public policy in Nigeria hardly works . For instance, National Housing fund, National Health Insurance Scheme, Pension Scheme did not end well and even the tradermonie that was introduced to help businesses did not end well because many people are not really willing to pay back the money. How can you call some young people and give them 500,000(five hundred thousand naira) every year and you expect them to pay back when they get a job and how will you know they have been employed? it is not likely to work and with the mammoth crowd of young people we have here in Nigeria, how can you push that kind of policy through and which bank will be able to certify 10% of them and to worsen the situation, some people don’t have address because they live in the rural areas. How will you be able to trace this people? I advocate for a moderate increase in tuition whether we like it or not. I sympathise with Vice Chancellor of Public institutions because the tuition they are operating with or with we call school charges, has been operational for nearly 20 years. 20 years ago the salaries of their employee has tripled more than 4 to 5 times and you expect people to use charges of 20 years ago to run a municipal community?

It is unlikely to work because you will maintain security on campus, ensure there is adequate water supply, light and other municipal services, clean environment and all. I don’t see it working but a moderate increase in school fees for instance, private universities could be charging upwards of 1.5million to 2million, it won’t be too much to ask public universities to charge 10% of that. There is no where in the world where Education is for paupers, in as much as brilliant children from poor homes want to go to school, if there is no scholarship, people,families should be able to put together 100,000(hundred thousand)for a year.

We have a lot of people in middle class and even in the lower class paying for private, primary and secondary school and beyond that for their children and come to think of it, University education does not come even if you consider the services that is being rendered and the qualifications of the teachers and when you consider how long it took them to get their Degree, Masters, PhD and do so much research to become professors.

The process of the loan scheme is just not workable. How do you get students to fill forms and get their parents to also fill tax clearance forms as well, maybe get guarantors and all. How many of them will bank get to administer their accounts and how do you get the money back maybe after 10 and 20 years when the people who gave them the loan are no longer there in the bank to retrieve the loan? Look at what happens to corporate institutions taking loans from bank it takes a lot to recover those loans and that is why we have Amcon and Amcon is being stifled by corruption. So in this situation you give a young person 500,000 Naira and you think it will be easy to get the money back. It is true they do it in UK and some Western countries. They have a way of making sure that the money is payed back and it is a criminal offence when you don’tpay  back the loan but here ,because you don’t have the record you will not know when the person has gotten a job.

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Coming to Insecurity, with the rate of crime and many people advocating for State police, What is your take on this?

You cannot stay in Abuja and police 774 local Government Areas in this country. I have put a paper about my proposal on the issue of state police. I understand why the Government at the center is dragging their feet. Some Governors will be using them at will but at the same time, it can be curbed in the sense that every state police will still have its command at the center. There will be a police council that will be responsible for their professional activities like promotion and things like that but the police belongs to the state and since the Governor is the Chief Security officer of the state, every other ranked person will be an indigenes of the state and the officers will not have to be indigenes.

And when there is a countrol over how police is used by the Chief Security Officer of the State,there won’t be much need for all the various paramilitaries in the country. So at the end of the day, I seriously advocate for state police.

Infact, I even advocated a situation where the AIGs are in charge of 2 states and Commissioners of police 1 state and then the Area commands, should be under the authority an Assistant Commissioner of Police.So in every State, with 3 to 4 Area commands should be manned by a Chief Superintendent of Police because there are local Government Areas so an Area commander should Man it and in so doing, it brings police closer to the grassroot. The DPO stay where they are and the Deputy Commissioners of police will work with the Commissioners of police and once it goes beyond the state, you can now juggle people that are not from that state as AIGs so that if because the Commissioner of police of a state wants to be used by the Governor, the police Council will not allow that to happen.

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Finally Prof, let’s talk about your University?

The Nigerian British University is a very beautiful brand, it isa  world class 21st century conventional University. We have been licensed by NUC since last year and it was formally inaugurated this year. The Nigerian British University is bringing a blended British/Nigerian educational system where you can come and spend 2 years with us and spend 1 year in one of our affiliate University abroad and you can gain their Degree or ours and it is properly intertionalised to the extent that we expect people to come from outside the country to be our student and for those who cannot afford the 2 plus1, you stay there for the 4/5years (depending on the course)and graduate with a well rounded education which improves your employability and entrepreneurship skills because we are bringing a lot of mentoring and when you look at our recreational and extra curricular activities,you see that we are trying to build a global citizen and again, our security architecture is very good.

The University is opposite 144 battalion and our internal security architecture is also top notch. All our student will be on campus and I will advocate for any parent/parents who wants a top notch University who offer the very best to come to Nigerian/British

What courses does Nigerian/University offer?

We are a conventional University and we are not faith based. For a start we have faculty of computing and information technology, faculty of law, faculty of management and social sciences and our business school is going to start running post graduate programmes in the business school with our international affiliations.

We are affiliated with some Universities in the UK where they can start the program and do 6 months of their PhD research in those Universities outside the country if they chose to and we are planning to start Medicine and Engineering in the near future hopefully by the next academic section

Thank you Prof for your time.

Thank you for having me.

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Interviews

Mercenaries Will Help Tackle Banditry, Terrorism – Hon Monguno

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The Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon Tahir Monguno, Member representing Marte/Monguno/Nganzai federal constituency Borno State has reiterated the need to bolster up the security architecture with mercenaries in order to bring the issues of banditry, insurgency and terrorism to nought. adsbygoogle || []).push({}); adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In a chat with Informavores’ Ogechi Okorie, Hon Tahir Monguno talked about the just concluded APC convention, concerns for security, his constituency projects among other things.

The excerpts:

Honourable, some people were of the opinion that people were coerced into agreeing on a consensus in the just concluded APC convention. What is your take on that?

Being part and parcel of the process, and being one of the leaders of the party, I can assure you that nobody was coerced into accepting any consensus arrangement. In the first place, the positions were zoned into various geographical political zones and the geo political zones were asked to go and meet and then come up with names that they have agreed for each office that was allocated to them. it was based on this, (for example, the North Eastern part of the country, were given the position of deputy Chairman North. So all the leaders from the North Eastern part of the country met under the leadership of the Senate president and then decided to allocate to the various sets all the offices that were allocated to the North East zone e g We gave Adamawa State the position of Vice Chairman North East while Borno was given the deputy National Chairman North and then in Borno, haven been given that position of deputy National Chairman North, we agreed to give Senator Abubakar Kyari to occupy that position while Adamawa that was given the position of Vice Chairman North East, sat down and agreed on a particular candidate so that is how all the consensus candidates emerged.

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Nobody was coerced and nobody was forced to withdraw his contest for a particular position. Everything was done under their freewill and under their own volition. Nobody was forced to withdraw.

So it is purely a consensus arrangement having zoned the offices to various geo political zones and then the geo political zones met and micro zoned these offices to various states. That is how the leadership emerged.

Honourable, with the rate of insecurity and the general situation of the country right now, what do you think are the chances of APC come 2023 election?

The chances APC winning at all level, whether the state Houses of Assembly, the Governorship, the National Assembly and most importantly, the presidency, I assure you that APC will continue to maintain its winning streak against the backdrop of the various developmental programs that APC has embarked upon and also the various programs like N-PowerSUBEB, MARKETMONI, TRADERMONI etc and all the programs that directly impart on the lives of people and based on these programs, I am convinced that APC is still going to form a Federal government and retains its majority in the National Assembly.

It is obvious we have serious challenges especially with regards to security but again, government is not lying on it’s oars. We are doing everything possible to address the situation just like government dealt with Boko Haram insurgency in the North East to the extent that it has drastically reduced.

I believe government will continue doing everything possible to make sure that the problems we are having in the North Central and North West will also be tackled head-on in the way and manner that it tackled Boko Haram insurgency was tackled in the North East.

Honourable, it seems Nigeria is on a time bomb. Not too long ago, a train was attacked in Kaduna and is in this vein that Governor El-Rufai suggested the use of mercenaries to fight terrorists, Because it seems, every effort made by the federal government has not yielded any result. 

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Do you think hiring of mercenaries will solve the problem of terrorist activities in Nigeria.?

Before now, I advocated for recruitment of mercenaries to assist in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and during the time of Goodluck Jonathan, mercenaries were deployed in the fight against insurgency in the North East and I have consistently supported the idea of recruiting mercenaries. At this juncture the Nigerian military are overstretched. Ordinarily all these functions that are being done by the military, are supposed to be done by the police.

Their duty is to defend the territorial integrity of this country, but now that they are fighting insurgency in the North East, North West, North central and practically everywhere, and i am of the opinion that we should seriously consider the idea of recruiting mercenaries to aide in the fight against banditry, insurgency and all forms of criminality.

Honourable, i am aware this is your record 5th time in the House of Representatives, what have endeared you to your people in order for you to achieve this feat?

I will simply say it is the grace of God because power is from God. He gives to whom ever he wishes. Secondly you should be closer to your people and should always identify with their problems. You should be responsive and responsible to their yearnings and aspirations and try as much as possible, to resonate with that. That is the secret. Try the much you can to bring dividends of democracy to them, identify with them, empathise with them.

Honourable, Informavores gathered that you did a massive Constituency outreach some months ago in your constituency in Borno State. Can you put through some of the projects you executed?

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I had series of trainings and empowerment programs and this was initiated against the backdrop of the fact that my constituency is one of the constituencies that was ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency and also our governor was determined to return our people back to their respective constituencies and the gallantry display by the military of liberating these places from the strong hold of Boko Haram and as a result of this, our people have started going back to their respective communities and as a result, there is need to empowerment so that by the time they go back to their communities, they will pick back the pieces of their lives.

So I embarked upon this empowerment programs to help them get back on their feet. I also did a training on various aspects of Agriculture, Aquaculture etc.

A lot of infrastructure were destroyed as a result of activities of insurgents and I am constructing a big water works worth(560,000 000) five hundred and sixty million naira each in 2 local governments to provide water to the inhabitants of the 2 local governments particularly, the local government headquarters.

I also constructed clinics, schools etc just to bring about normalcy back to the lives of the people.

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