Nigerian Air Force Explores Agriculture To Empower Barracks Youths

Air Chief empowers barrack youths through agricultureNigerian military is not left out in the nation’s search for a solution to the economic recession the oil-rich nation slid into few weeks ago, as the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, is exploring agriculture to empower youths in barracks.

He is confident that further involvement of youths in agriculture will deepen the economic diversification drive of the government.

Economy In Recession

Nigeria is battling to get out of its present economic recession made obvious when the National Bureau of Statistics released a second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report.

The report showed a contract in the GDP by 2.06% in the second quarter of 2016.

According to the report, the decline has caused the Naira to get weaker while lower oil prices dragged the oil sector down.

The output shrunk by 0.36 in the first quarter.

During the quarter, nominal GDP was 2.73% higher at 23.48 million Naira at basic prices.

This growth was lower than the rate recorded in the second quarter of 2015 by 2.44% points.

Empowerment Through Agriculture

While launching a scheme tagged ‘Barracks Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (BYETA)’ held at the Air Force Base in Kaduna State, Air Marshal Abubakar said the initiative would empower youths and create jobs.

The Air Chief was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Nigerian Air Force headquarters, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum.

He explained that the inauguration of the youth empowerment programme was a testimony and determination of the Nigerian Air Force to key into the Federal Government’s policy on diversification of the economy to other non-oil sectors especially agriculture.

Message Of Self-reliance

The programme, according to the organisers, is designed to engage the youths, particularly those living in the barracks in productive ventures such as poultry, fishery and crops farming that would enable them live meaningful lives independent of their parents or guidance.

While urging the youth to make good use of the opportunity to empower themselves and contribute to the economic development of the nation, the representative of the Chief of Air Staff, enjoined parents and guidance to regularly monitor the progress of their wards in order to achieve the maximum success rate of the programme.

On his part, the Commander, 335 Base Service Group, Air Commodore Bello Garba, said the initiative was launched to further drive home the message of self-reliance and the directive given by the Chief of Air Staff for all secondary schools in the barracks to establish a demonstration farm which he also noted would prepare the youth to be self-reliant.

He told the gathering that in compliance with the directive, the 335 Base Service Group had established a BYETA association with an initial membership of 25 youths at its inception on August 30.

At the moment it has 98 registered members, including 35 engaged in fish farming, 25 in poultry, 26 in livestock and 12 in crop farming.

Some of the beneficiaries said they were pleased with the initiative they believe would empower them, help them feed Nigerians and ensure food security.

The Barrack Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Programme is open to relatives of Air Force personnel and residents of host communities.

Special Court Martial Demotes Major General To Brigadier General

Patrick Falola Major General demoted to Brigadier GeneralA Special Court Martial of the Nigerian Army has demoted the Director, 68 Reference Hospital, Yaba, in Lagos State, Major General Patrick Falola, to the rank of Brigadier General.

The demotion follows the conviction of the Major General who was accused of unlawfully admitting students for clinical training without due clearance from the army headquarters.

Major General Falola is said to have admitted international students from Espan Formation University, Cotonou in Benin Republic between July and September, 2016.

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President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, said the accused was found guilty of first count

Delivering judgment in the case against Major General Falola, who is also a Commander of the Armed Forces Hospital in Kano, President of the Special Court Martial, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, sentenced the accused officer to a reduction in rank from Major General to Brigadier General on count one of the charge.

He was, however, discharged and acquitted of the second count of fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.

Lawyer to Major General Falola, Wing Commander Enokela Onyilo-Uloko [Rtd], however, criticised the conviction, saying it was a premeditated attempt to taint the unblemished record of his client whom he described as a distinguished medical officer with outstanding records.

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Enokela Onyilo-Uloko says the judgment of the Special Court Martial has no legal backing

“On hearing of this kind of conviction, we know that it is based on nothing. There is no law, no instruction put on the ground by the armed forces that the senior officer needs to take permission from the higher authority before allowing such training.

“No such law or instruction was tendered in evidence, but they are saying that he should use his initiative.

“When there is no law criminalising an act, when that act is done, it does not amount to criminal offence,” the lawyer said.

He further vowed to appeal the judgment of the Special Court Martial.

However, the judgement of the Army Court Martial is subject to confirmation by the Nigerian Army Council.

 

Army Bars Coverage Of Two Major Generals’ Trial

Court Martial, Army major generals Nigerian journalists have been barred from covering the proceedings of the trial of two major generals being court-martialled in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The trial of a former Chief of Army Transportation and Innovation Centre, Major General Ibrahim Sani and a former commander of 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Yaba, Major General Patrick Falola had continued on Monday without any media house covering it.

Offences

The Nigerian Army on May 5 inaugurated a court martial to try the two top military officers for violation of service discipline.

The panel include Air Vice Marshal James Gbum who is President of the Court, while Air Vice Marshal Iya Abdullahi and Rear Admiral Peter Agba are members of the panel.

Surgeon Rear Admiral Edwin Enechukwu is a waiting member and Colonel Sa’ad Musa is Judge Advocate.

Although, the offences were not read in court, according to sources the accused are said to be facing charges that border on conduct unbecoming of military officers punishable under the Armed Forces Act.

The spokesman of Mogadishu Cantonment Abuja, Colonel Ali Yusuf, said reporters were not allowed to cover the trial to avoid jeopardising the army’s operations.

“They will be briefed about the outcome of the cases later,” he added.

3,642 new ex-militants included in Amnesty’s Third Phase

The Third Phase of the Amnesty Programme will  be involving an additional 3,642 ex-militants who are included in the programme following widespread agitations among the youths of the Niger Delta for inclusion in the programme.

Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, made this known as he confirmed that the Amnesty Office would ensure effective funding of the disarmament process of the ex-militants of the third phase for 31 days.

Mr. Kuku made this comment during the visit of the Chairman of the Inter Agency Task Force, Air Vice Marshal James Gbum, stating that the federal government has commenced the effective implementation of the third phase of the Amnesty to ex-agitators of the Niger Delta.

According to Mr Kuku, it was the responsibility of the task force to ensure the reconciliation of arms and ammunition recovered from the militants in various security formations.

He also urged the members of the task force to ensure that they carry out their mandate in accordance with expectations.

He warned that the Amnesty Office would impose sanctions against anybody found to be involved in acts that could derail the programme.