By Denen Achussah
Lawyers Alert (LA), a human rights based organisation has rolled out a work plan that will provide immediate succor as well as long term and sustainable source of income for the deaf community in Benue State.
LA’s Director of Programmes Jerome Uneje, while addressing members of the Benue State Association of the Deaf (BSAD) Makurdi Branch, during a one day strategic meeting held at LA Conference Hall on Thursday, 3rd September, 2020 in Makurdi, the Benue State capital said the work plan is to properly guide LA’s “intended and calculated activities that should yield beneficial results and/or outcomes” to BASD in the long run.
The one day strategic meeting follows the first interractive meeting with the deaf sometime in May this year, at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, LA noted.
In inviting others to join hands in reaching out to the “underserved and vulnerable groups” in the society, LA believes that the task cannot be accomplaished by one individual or organisation.
“We believe that as a Civil Society Organisation, we cannot do this alone and harvest all the desirable results especially when it comes to the rights of the underserved or vulnerable persons,” LA’s Jerome said.
On behalf of the LA President Rommy Mom Esq, the Director of Programmes reiterated the commitment of LA in ensuring advocacy, free legal representation, monitoring and documentation of violence against women and girls as well as legal literacy.
“LA prioritises women and other vulnerable groups in her day to day endavours and commit to protect and defend their rights especially because they are the most vulnerable and susceptible groups in every situation, which the Benue State Association (BSAD) is a part,” Jerome said.
The deaf were happy that LA has come out with a work plan that seeks to address their needs.
Tardoo Amande, Leader of the deaf in Makurdi spoke on their behalf. While thanking LA for the initiative, Amande observed that the deaf are many in the state.
He therefore appealed for the expansion of the work plan to accomodate many of such vulnerable members of the Benue society.
[04/09, 22:33] Achusa: Dairy Produce: Locals Reveal Otukpa’s Best Commodities
By Denen Achussah
Top commodities in Ukwo Otukpa, one of the largest markets in Benue South are Akpaka (Pentaclethra Macrophylla), Cashew nuts, Palm oil, Palm kernel nuts, African Wild Mango (Ogbono), Plantain, Bambala nuts and Garri, ThisWeek’s findings have shown.
Ukwo Otukpa is situate and located in Ogbadibo Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State, about 162Km from Makurdi, the state capital and is about 3Km from Otukpa Junction. It is a four- day cycle market and the last market day was on Thursday, 3rd September, 2020 while the next market day will be Monday, 7th September, 2020.
According to Chief Onche Abah, Head of the market, Ukwo Otukpa boasts of nearly everything man eats. “Our people are farmers, that is why we produce so many things to sell. We have yams, rice, palm kernel nuts, palm oil, beans, groundnuts, cashew nuts, cassava, sweet potatoes; you can name them,” Chief Abah told ThisWeek. He was quick to add, that “we boast of the best Palmwine money can buy.”
The origin of Okwu Otukpa predates Benue-Plateau State, from which Benue State was created. And the market head believes it is the single largest market in Benue South, otherwise known as Zone C.
Although, those in the livestock section of the market are groaning over associated cost, which resultant effect is the rising prices of livestock, Chief Abah said prices of commodities this year are far better than last year’s prices.
Simon Sunday, who deals in palm kernel nuts told ThisWeek, that he is buying 81Kg of the commodity at Eleven Thousand Naira.
On the other hand, Cashew nuts were exchanged for Thirty Seven Thousand Naira per bag.
Dada Agada, Cashew farmer and buyer said prices of the commodity depend on “quality and market turnover.” He explained that a certain whiteman normally comes around to buy and whenever “he comes, the price is usually, higher.”
Agada told ThisWeek that he has a large Cashew farm. “My father also has his own. So, we harvest and also go into the interior area of Ogbadibo to buy,” he went on.
Interestingly, palm oil is relatively cheap at Ukwo Otukpa market. For over time now, the price of the cooking ingredient stands at Ten Thousand Naira per 25 Litre.
According to Chief Abah, Ukwo Otukpa is the ideal market where palm oil can be obtained for sells in other places.
Bambala nut was exchanged for One Thousand Two Hundred Naira per four litre container while rice, beans were exchanged at Four Hundred per five cups, Two Hundred per five cups respectively. A cup of black beans costs Two Hundred Naira.
Idoko Enenche, who deals in livestock is calling on the Benue State Government to reduce the number of produce check points especially, on Gboko-Aliade Road in the interest of marketers.
He is concerned that expenses incured after buying livestock from other markets is raising the cost of livestock. “We are buying from markets in Gboko, Katsina-Ala, Gwer and the cost of produce is high now. From Gboko to this place, the money we pay on the road is much. We pay between One Thousand Naira and One Thousand Five Hundred Naira per checking point. And when you add up the cost on produce to the pricw of the animals, you are arrive at what is higher,” Enenche lamented and resigned to fate that “only God can help us.”
Other produce obtainabke at Ukwo Otukpa include melon, Kola, pepper, tomato, peers, soyabeans, sorghum and vegetables.
Another unique thing about the market is that it’s an early morning market. It is learned at 9am or thereabout, local farmers may have sold their produce and or trust them in the hands of traders, who then retail them.
In case you want to attend Ukwo Otukpa market, avoid Sundays. According to Eloyi Ogbe, “you won’t find anyone in our markets on Sundays. Our people are very religious.” Ukwo Otukpa attracts traders from Kogi, Enugu and beyond.
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