FG Spends N9bn To Boost Food Security

Agriculture, Food Sufficiency,The Federal Government through the Bank of Agriculture, has expended nine billion Naira on agriculture in Nigeria’s south-east region, to encourage farmers, foster food security, as well as employment of women and youths.

This assertion was made known to newsmen at Enugu when the delegation unveiled their Agriculture layout aimed to boost the economy. According to them, there are opportunities that can be tapped from in the region, that include the oil palm revolution, the cocoa enhancement, rice, among many others.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Agriculture, Kabir Mohammed, noted that there are projects that are directed at improving the employment rate in the country.

“I want to say that what we intend to do is to make sure that we support the rural women because that is one of our mandates.

“You must know that there are a lot of women in the rural area that are involved in agriculture in the south- east zone and presently, our intention is to make sure that our activities are extended to them.

“I want to say that we are looking at youth unemployment which is a global phenomenon and we are committed and have projects targeted at improving employment rate in Nigeria. We want to use agriculture to get the youths engaged thereby reducing youth restiveness drastically.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Partnership and Strategy, Dr. Gabriel Okenwa, disclosed that the Federal Government’s strategic focus on the agriculture sector is geared towards producing more food for the citizens and a lot more for export.

“I must say that Nigerians are very hard working and resilient people and with the strategic re-focus in Agriculture now, all hands should be on deck – We will produce enough food for the people and have more for export, and I must say that the Federal Government is doing a lot in Agriculture.”

Federal Government Dissolves National Sports Federations

What Reps Told Sports Minister About 2016 Budget SpendingThe Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has announced the dissolution of the boards of all National Sports Federations (NSF).

The Youth and Sports Development Minister Solomon Dalung, who made the announcement in Abuja also directed all Secretaries to take charge of their various federations during the election process.

The dissolution which is one of the milestones of the existing State of Emergency in the Sports Sector in the country, may not be unconnected with certain moves that seek to undermine the electoral process by federations, some of which have started seeking a 6 month tenure extension.

“In line with the Olympic Charter, all National Sports Federations are to serve for a period of 4 years. The federations were inaugurated in May 2013, and by tradition, federations are dissolved after every Olympic Games. Therefore, their tenure has now come to an end.

“To ensure a level playing ground and free and fair elections, where all shall be given equal opportunities to realize their ambition to contest the elections, the National Sports Federations are hereby dissolved from today May 5, 2017.

Secretaries are to take charge and run the affairs of their various federations during the process of the elections.”

The election date has also been extended to June 13, 2017 while every other program for the electoral process will be adjusted to fit into the new election date. Further announcement on the new time table will be released in due course.

Minister Dalung recalled that one year ago, he called for the constitutions of all sports federations but only five complied till date. He stated that ahead of the forthcoming elections, guidelines were approved by stakeholders and a process was put in place.

He expressed his determination and commitment to a successful transition process of democratizing the National Sports Federations and producing credible leadership to meet the yearnings and aspirations of sport-loving Nigerians.

To this effect, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Nigeria Olympic Committee NOC will facilitate the electoral process.

“As part of our commitment to a free and fair process, the Ministry requested the National Sports Federations to submit copies of their constitutions.

Unfortunately, as at today, only five federations complied, leaving the Ministry and the NOC with no other option than to organize the elections based strictly on the guidelines, except those federations who submitted their constitutions and there are certain requirements of notice, which in the spirit of free and fair elections will be exempted.”

The Sports Minister has also directed the Ministry to consult widely with the NOC and recommended three credible names to constitute the electoral committee for scrutiny, confirmation and subsequent inauguration.

He noted that the process of democratizing the National Sports Federations, though historic is not free from challenges while harping on the Ministry’s determination to deliver on its commitment .

” We shall make amendments and moderations of the transition programme as we progress and if the occasion demands. However, the election is the only thing that is sacrosanct .”

Enugu Govt. Calls On FG To Revoke Mining Licenses Of Private Companies

Ugwuanyi Calls For Overhaul Of Electoral System, More CredibilityThe Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has called on the Federal government to revoke mining licenses of private companies in the state and reward them to the State government.

Governor Ugwuanyi Made this known in a meeting with the Minister of Mining and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, who is in Enugu for a nationwide tour of mining asset.

The Governor told the Minister that Enugu State has the capacity to immediately commence mining operations because the companies have shown little or no interest in extracting the minerals.

“All the coal mines in Enugu have long been abandoned and become the dens of vandals, robber and other criminal element.

“The expanse of land granted to the defunct Nigerian Coal Cooperation were disposed off by BPE. These actions currently generates a great deal of restiveness among host communities which threatens a breakdown of law and order.

“It is for this reason and more that we are calling on the Federal Government to revoke and reward all the licenses or leases to the mining feats in Enugu to the State government,” the governor said.

Dr. Kayode who said he was in the state to look at the abandoned and disused coal mines and collaborate with the state in identifying best way to review progress, also told the governor that road map and funds have been set aside to ensure revitalization of the mines assets that are not privatised.

He said that the Federal Executive Council approved 30 billion Naira for mining operations and 150 million Dollars from the World Bank, all dedicated to improving on coal assets across the nation.

Legal Practitioner Faults FG’s Committee On SGF, NIA DG’s Investigation

A legal practitioner, John Oloyede, has faulted the Federal Government’s idea of setting up a committee to investigate issues surrounding the suspension of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

He said in Nigeria, committees are set up to cover up lies. “There is a lie and you need a bigger lie to cover it up”.

“Why should the Vice President be heading a committee to investigate an allegation of crime against two individuals.

 Dead On Arrival

“Secondly, the Attorney General and even the Presidency authored a response to the allegations by the Senate, giving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation a clean bill of health previously.

“The clean bill of health was on the basis of a report that was submitted by the Attorney General of the Federation. You now set up a committee; that committee is dead on arrival.

“If you suspect that there is some proof that something untoward has been done and is an infraction of the law, the proper procedure is not to set up a committee that is dead on arrival.”

The lawyer therefore stated that the President should have taken a different step, rather than setting up a committee headed by the Vice President.

Let EFCC Investigate

“In Nigeria, you set up institutions and decapitate the institutions,” he said, while also noting that “what Professor Sani said, is playing out. You do not move two different sets of rules to fight corruption.

“If there is an allegation of crime against somebody, first and foremost, where did the first report come from? Now that it has become apparent to you (Mr President), that there is a problem with this particular person or persons, aren’t there institutions that are presently fighting the war on corruption? The EFCC, DSS, Police? He questioned.

“That administrative step should not be in public domain, it is not our business,” Oloyede added.

According to him, “the important thing now is that once a person is suspended, the EFCC should do their work.

“Let them investigate this person, just like they are investigating and charging other people to court. Why have two sets of rules for the same kind of crimes.”

He holds the belief that since the AGF had absolved the SGF before, he could easily do same this time around as he would not want to double speak. However, if he does otherwise, then his previous report would be questioned.

“If he says this man is guilty as charged, then we’ll say where did you get your false report before, why didn’t you do a thorough investigation? The chief law officer, involved in double speak, that is untoward,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, other reactions have continued to trail the suspension. The Chairman of the Senate’s Ad-hoc Committee on Humanitarian crises in the North East, Shehu Sani, however, stated that the suspension of Mr Babachir Lawal will not interrupt its ongoing investigation of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja Airport

Passengers Applaud Timely Rehabilitation Of Abuja AirportDomestic flights have resumed operations into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, following the re-opening of the runway to traffic.

Passengers aboard a domestic flight expressed delight at being able to fly directly into the capital city, and applauded the timely rehabilitation of the facility.

They, however, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently consider the construction of a second runway for the airport, in addition to regular maintenance of the newly rehabilitated one.

Speaking to Channels Television, the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, lauded the prompt decision of the government to rehabilitate the airport.

“We must thank the agencies: The Ministries of Transport, Aviation, Works, and other Nigerians who gave the support. The greatest thing is we thank God that we didn’t wait for a disaster to happen in Abuja before we took that decision,” he said.

The spokesman for the All Progressives Congress, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, also said: “The last couple of weeks have been quite challenging for some of us who fly quite frequently, the logistics of having to go to Kaduna and all that; but I think it has been managed quite effectively”.

Earlier, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the Abuja Airport had been certified to accommodate international and local flights, ahead of the date scheduled for its re-opening, April 19.

The Ethiopian Airline Airbus 8350 was the first major airline to land at the airport.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, President Muhammadu Buhari lauded the efforts of key agencies on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.

He also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.

FG Urges Nigerians To Take Livestock As A Business

Courtesy: nigeriagovernance.org

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture has charged Nigerians to take livestock as a business, rather than considering it as a tradition.

Mr Ahmed Salihu Ahmed of the Department of Animal Husbandry Service of the Ministry, gave the charge in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.

He said the Federal Government has set machinery in place to mitigate some of the issues that often causes skirmish between herdsmen and farmers in the country.

The representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and the Miyeti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, are in Lokoja to interact and sensitize the herdsmen on the need to live and operate peaceful without any crises, but first they pay a courtesy call on the Commissioner of Police.

In his keynote address at the State Police Headquarters the leader of the delegation disclosed that the Federal Government has concluded plans to commercialize production of livestock, which he noted will be stationed in one location to avert the incessant crises between cattle rearers and the farmers.

“The population of the country is growing astronomically, and there is need to cultivate land for crops production and massive investment in livestock.

“I call on the leaders of the Miyeti Allah Cattle Reares Association to always sensitize their members on the need to live with farmers peacefully”.

In his remark, the State Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu said the command under his watch is in support of the initiative, while calling on Miyeti Allah Cattle Rearers Association, Kogi state chapter to warn their members against indulging in criminal activities.

“I want to assure you that my command will continue to maintain neutrality between the herdsmen and the farmers, so that the state can continue to enjoy absolute peace”.

President Buhari Commends Re-opening Of Abuja Airport

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday commended the re-opening of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, 24 hours ahead of the deadline.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, the President lauded the efforts of the contractor, security agencies, Kaduna State Government, as well as the Ministries of Transport, Power, Works and Housing, on the successful completion of work on the runway of the airport.

He said that he looked forward to such display of inter-agency cooperation and efficiency in the operation of the entire Federal Government machinery.

President Buhari also thanked foreign airlines for their cooperation with the Nigerian Government during the period of the closure of the airport.

Ahead of the date scheduled for the re-opening, April 19, the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, said the Abuja Airport has been certified to accommodate international and local flights.

The Minister said this when he landed at the airport at about 11.15am on board a Caverton helicopter from Kaduna State.

The Ethiopian Airline Airbus 8350 was the first major airline to land at the airport.

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial Centres

Senate Challenges FG On Funding Of Industrial CentresThe Federal Government has been asked to pay more attention to building Nigeria’s industrial capacity, by giving priority to the development and funding of Industrial Development Centers (IDCs) across the country.

The Senate Committee on Industries made the call during a visit to the Industrial Development Centre in Owerri, the Imo State capital, as part of its oversight function.

The Committee, led by Senator Sam Egwu, decried the state of the centres across the country, stressing the need to prioritise the IDCs and ensure they become functional, in order to contribute to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

A member of the Committee, Senator Barnabas Gemade, observed that one of the major causes of Nigeria’s recession was the failure to develop its industrial capacities.

He added that countries like China and India were able to thrive due to the priority given to industrialisation.

“IDCs were meant to give a foundation of producing middle-level staff for industrialising the nation. And since they were not working very well, and have remained moribund in most of the centres, 23 of them in the country, our level of industrialisation is where it is, which is part of why the recession has come to this nation.

“Countries like India and China that were basically at the same level with Nigeria, are highly industrialised now because they paid attention to their development of industrial capacity, that is what is lacking here,” he said.

The Director-General of Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), Dikko Radda, said to achieve full diversification of the economy, government should give more priority to industrialisation.

“I believe we are going to get it right this time because the lawmakers are here and they are the people that appropriate funds for the development of these centres.

“I believe they are really worried about it, and I believe that they are going to do something about it. The government will put more priority on the IDCs,” he said.

Osinbajo Asks Nigerians To Love, Support One Another

We Hear You, Loud And Clear, Osinbajo Tells ProtestersLove and hope were at the heart of the Easter message delivered by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja on Sunday.

After leading the service at the Villa Chapel to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Professor Osinbajo encouraged all Nigerians to shelve tribe or religion and embrace the love of Christ.

The Vice President told worshippers that as God loved all mankind, Nigerians should commit to supporting each other, regardless of ethnic groups to ensure the growth and development of all.

Nigerian Government Hails Whistle-Blower Policy

Nigerian Government Hails Whistle-Blower Policy
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has been reflecting on its whistle-blower policy, insisting that progress is being made in the recovery of looted funds in many currencies across the country.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the policy is showing the depth of support among Nigerians for the fight against corruption.

He therefore thanked Nigerians for what he described as the enthusiasm and commitment that they have shown in helping the government to tackle the hydra-headed monster of corruption through the useful leads they have been providing to appropriate government agencies.

In his word, ”Since we launched the whistle-blower policy, we have received immeasurable support from Nigerians. Yes, there is monetary reward for any information that leads to recovery of looted funds, but from what we have seen, most of the Nigerians who have come forward with useful leads were driven by patriotism rather than reward.”

He therefore reassured Nigerians who have useful information on looted funds that the government would protect their identities and also ensure that they get the stipulated reward for their efforts.

Catholic Bishop Frees 25 Inmates In Yola

Catholic Bishop Frees 25 Inmates In YolaIn the spirit of Easter, the Catholic Bishop of Yola Diocese, Bishop Dami Mamza, has facilitated the freedom of 25 inmates at the Yola Prisons by paying up their fines.

Bishop Mamza, during a visit to the facility in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, also presented food items to the remaining inmates to celebrate Easter.

He said some of the prisoners spent about three to five years in jail for their inability to pay as little as 2,000 Naira.

“We have decided to pay the fines for 25 prisoners so that they can be freed. There are so many of them that are here and it is not much money that is needed to set them free,” the cleric said.

He also called on the Federal Government to give more attention to reforming and rehabilitating prisoners.

“Government should really give the prisoners attention, especially in terms of reformation. Different prisons should be well-equipped with training materials so that when they (inmates) get out, they will be very useful to their communities,” Bishop Mamza appealed.

Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture Of Funds Recovered In Ikoyi

Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture Of Funds Recovered In IkoyiA Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the funds recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from an apartment in the Ikoyi area of Lagos State.

In his ruling on Thursday, Justice Muslim Hassan ordered that the 43 million dollars, 23 million Naira and 27,000 pounds be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The judge gave till May 5, 2017 for any interested party in the funds to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

The funds were recovered on Wednesday, following a whistle-blower’s confidential alert received by the Lagos Office of the anti-graft agency regarding some suspicious movement of bags in and out of the apartment.

The discovery came days after the EFCC announced the recovery of 547,730 euros; 21,090 dollars and 5,648,500 Naira from a Bureau de Change operator in Balogun Market, Lagos.