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3,000 WOMEN, YOUTHS BENEFIT IN SANWO-OLU’S AGRIC INVESTMENT TO BOOST FOOD SECURITY

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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•Governor Rolls Out Empowerment Scheme for Lagos Farmers, Assists 300 Trainees with N245 Million Machinery Support

The food sufficiency programme of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been taken a notch higher. The Governor, on Thursday, rolled out massive agricultural investment that empowers 3,000 urban and rural farmers in key sectoral value chains.

Women, youths and peasant farmers were the main beneficiaries of the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme through which the State Government is supporting agripreneurs with modern equipment and inputs that would help them make significant difference and scale up their agricultural practices.

Various groups of farmers, in their numbers, thronged the parade ground of the Police College, Ikeja to personally receive the material support from the Governor, accompanied by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and members of the State Executive Council.

The scheme is also a component of the Sanwo-Olu administration’s five-year Agricultural and Food System Development Roadmap recently launched to chart a coordinated path for the desired development of the sector and boost food security.

The beneficiaries were selected for the scheme through a merit-based system anchored by independent associations of farmers across the State. The support was majorly for agripreneurs in poultry, piggery and artisanal fishery – the three sub-sectors largely affected by the disruption occasioned by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Sanwo-Olu noted that the intervention was necessitated by the need to raise food production, processing and marketing, while also creating jobs and sustaining the livelihood of the farmers through value creation.

Through the scheme, the Governor said the Government would be easing the burden of the beneficiary farmers and agriculture workers, describing the programme as “another milestone” in fulfilling his administration’s electoral promises to the people.

He said: “This Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme is a clear demonstration of the commitment of our administration to the development and expansion of the agricultural sector, which is driven by a farm-to-table model that aligns with our goal of making Lagos a truly 21st century economy.

“We are determined to increase food production in the State from the current 20 per cent to at least 50 per cent by 2025 and this effort has been emboldened, given the observed disruption in the supply chain of food across the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outbreak of zoonotic diseases.

“We have emerged wiser and more determined to succeed in creating and nurturing a viable agribusiness sector in Lagos. The State Government has put in place a strategy for the proper utilisation and continuous maintenance of the assets being donated to derive maximum value from them. We are also working with a financial institution regarding appropriate financing structures for the guaranteed sustainability of the programme.”

Sanwo-Olu stressed that the deficiency of agricultural land in Lagos would not deter the State Government from deploying innovative and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities that would make the State sufficient in food production and engender economic growth through agriculture.

Lagos, the Governor said, will continue to maximize the value for resources invested in the agricultural sector, urging the beneficiaries to reciprocate the gesture by working hard to nurture their businesses to maturity.

Sanwo-Olu said the intervention would only be sustainable if the beneficiaries succeeded in activating new businesses and created positive impacts for agro-processors in the value chains.

“By putting in your best and judiciously utilising the assets entrusted to you, you are opening doors for more people to benefit tomorrow. Since your selection was based on merit, we believe you can deliver excellent results with these equipment and supplies you are receiving today,” Governor said.

He disclosed that his administration was set to establish Wholesale Agricultural Produce Hubs in strategic locations across the State to promote food safety and ensure access to direct markets for fresh-from-farm products, thereby reducing post-harvest losses for farmers.

Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said the State Government had not only restructured the projects for greater impacts, but also changed the name to transform the mindsets of beneficiaries not to see the initiative as entitlement and largesse from the Government.

She said the programme would help committed farmers to nurture their businesses into viable agricultural enterprises, pointing out that the Government had created a monitoring mechanism to keep track of the beneficiaries’ activities.

She said:“The Enterprise Activation programme will contribute to inclusive agricultural growth in Lagos, as it will be creating access for beneficiaries to exit the poverty trap and reduce economic inequality. Aside creating new marketing opportunities in the value chains, the programme will also provide a social safety net for youth, women and the vulnerable.”

Oniru of Iru Kingdom and immediate past Commissioner for Agriculture, Oba Gbolahan Lawal, praised the Sanwo-Olu administration for raising the investment for the scheme, which the monarch described as “inclusive empowerment”, as the intervention was extended to farmers in urban areas.

The traditional ruler urged beneficiaries not to betray the Government’s trust, asking them to utilise the support for the improvement of their businesses and turn in good testimonies at the end of the scheme’s tenure.

President of Ogbonge Women, a farmers’ group, Mrs. Chinasa Asonye, praised the Governor for the opportunity and for the priority accorded to women in agricultural business. She promised, on behalf of the beneficiaries, to judiciously deploy the tools for improved food production and return on investment.

In the scheme, 300 youths trained in Aquaculture and Poultry Production at the Lagos Agripreneurship Programme (LAP) were empowered with agricultural inputs valued at N245 million, which represented 46.7 per cent of the total investment in the programme.

Other beneficiaries include 400 pig farmers that participated in Agricultural Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric-YES), 680 fishermen, 190 fish cage culture artisans, 360 egg marketers, 500 fish processors, 200 rice farmers and 370 crop farmers.

They received variety of modern tools, such as tractors, ploughs, fishing boats and gear, harvesters, threshers, destoning machines, defeathering machines, herbicides, fish juveniles, pig growers, smoking kilns, crates of eggs, and inputs, which are to be utilised in farming communities across Lagos agricultural zones of Badagry, Epe and Ikorodu

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Deborah Samuel: NBA Calls For Swift Prosecution Of Suspects, Postpones Conference In Sokoto

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The Nigerian Bar Association has condemned extra-judicial killings in any part of the country, describing them as reprehensible, barbaric and unacceptable.

A statement signed by the President of the bar, Olumide Akpata also called on security agencies to do more to stem these ugly developments, and to ensure that the perpetrators of these heinous acts are made to face the full wrath of the law.

Citing the specific cases of a young man (simply identified as David) in Lagos who was reportedly lynched by commercial motorcyclists around Lekki; and the incident in Sokoto involving the murder of Miss Deborah Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto by some of her school mates for alleged blasphemy, the NBA asked government to immediately commence the prosecution of all suspects involved in these brutal and arbitrary killings in order to send a strong signal that such acts will no longer be tolerated in Nigeria.

The NBA said it believes that the prompt and effective prosecution of the alleged killers will instill confidence in the citizens, promote accountability, and signpost the government’s commitment to the rule of law.

With particular reference to the murder of Deborah Yakubu and related developments in Sokoto, the NBA said it is worried by unconfirmed reports that the suspects have been charged with mere breach of public peace and called on the Sokoto State Government to immediately rethink its prosecution strategy and file charges that truly reflect the gravity of the situation.

On the demand for the release of the suspects by some protesting youths coupled with assault on innocent citizens, burning of worship centres and destruction of property, the NBA said this is worrisome and clearly a test of the will of the State to fully enforce its laws and foster rule of law.

On its annual conference of the Section on Public Interest and Development Law, SPIDEL scheduled to hold next week in Sokoto, the NBA said, having critically reviewed the current security condition in the state, it has become apparent that it cannot guarantee the safety of participants and accordingly, the Conference has been postponed also as a mark of respect for the memory of the slain Deborah Yakubu.

The NBA urged the State Government to fully collaborate with the Federal Government to initiate measures — and where necessary deploy its coercive instruments — to restore peace and order to the State, safeguard lives and property and dissuade vandalism and impunity.

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Accord Party’s comment on award of Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road project, unfortunate, illogical – Osun Govt 

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.…says it took over the project to alleviate citizens’ hardship

The government of Osun has explained that it took over the reconstruction of the Osogbo-Okinni-Ilobu road, which is a Federal road, to alleviate the hardship motorists and other road users face daily why plying the road.

The government said the facility had been in a deplorable condition for so long and it could not afford to allow its citizens continue to suffer on the road, adding that it followed due process in taking over the project.

One of the opposition parties in Osun, the Accord Party had in a statement published accused the State Government of taking over a road project that had already been awarded by the Federal Government.

Reacting to the statement by the Accord Party, Mr Ismail Omipidan who is the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, described the party’s claims as unfortunate, lame and illogical.

He said while the contract for the rehabilitation of the road had been truly awarded by the federal government on two different occasions since 2012, no concrete work had been done on the project, a development he said forced the State government to take over the project.

“The contract for rehabilitating the road was first awarded by the federal government 10 years ago, but since then, no significant work has been done on the project that has caused so much hardship for our people who use the road.

“It was for this reason that the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led administration decided to take over the project to address the needless sufferings and loss of man-hours on the facility,” Omipidan explained.

He further noted that Accord party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate to the people of Osun rather than engaging in a futile exercise. “The party’s comments on the take-over of the road project by the State government are lame and illogical,” he added.

Omipidan further said: “Accord Party should simply bury its head in shame. Are they saying we should continue to allow the people of Osun to suffer under our administration simply because the road belongs to the federal government?

“If they were discerning enough and if they had listened to Mr. Governor’s speech on the day we flagged off the reconstruction of that road, I am sure they would not bother themselves issuing a statement that lacks substance.

“Mr. Governor said it clearly in his speech that the road contract was awarded about 10 years ago and that as a state government, even though it is a federal government project, we did everything possible to support all the contractors that have had cause to work on that road. But there was no positive result.

“The argument on the timing of the award of the project is preposterous and ill-judged. A government can award a project contract even a week to its expiration, as long as it is in the overall interest of the State and its people.

“We all know that there are processes to take over federal government project that explains why it took us time to start the reconstruction because we have to complete the necessary paperwork.

“During the Governor’s January broadcast, he stated it clearly that though 2022 is going to be an election year but as a responsible governor, he will not allow politics to over shadow governance, so if anything, the Governor should be commended for walking his talk.

“Hon. Lasun Yusuff, the candidate of the Labour Party in the July 16 governorship contest was on air just on Monday, stating how as a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, he facilitated the reconstruction of the road. He explained how some persons who were coming for his event from Lagos had to return without getting to their destinations after spending three hours on that road, so he was happy and even commended the State government for taking over the road project and so, are the immediate beneficiaries of the road.

“The benefiting communities and road users who ply the road will definitely not be happy with the position taken by Accord Party. The party has indeed missed its target as it cannot use this project to attack Governor Oyetola who has only done what the people desire.

“The party should be more concerned on how to sell its candidate rather than engaging in a futile exercise because this indeed is an exercise in futility, the people of Osun know Mr Adegboyega Oyetola very well as a man of his words and somebody who walks his talks. He has promised that he won’t allow politics to overshadow governance. As a matter of fact, we will reel out more road projects in the days ahead.”

 

 

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Death Toll Rises To Nine In Kano Explosion

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Scene of the Kano blast
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At least nine persons have died after an explosion rocked Aba Road in Sabon Gari area of Kano, the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday.

The bodies were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed building beside a primary school.

The police earlier said the explosion was triggered by gas cylinder and not a bomb as being speculated.

“It is not a bomb explosion, it is a gas explosion,” Commissioner of Police, Sama’ila Dikko, said in a voice recording. “A gas cylinder explosion.

“Because there is a welder, just by the place, and he is the first victim in this situation.”

Dikko added that the police, in collaboration with other security agencies, was also investigating what led to the gas cylinder explosion.

He maintained that the scene was under control.

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