About 5,000 farmers in Kaduna State are set to undergo training on wheat cultivation, as part of efforts by the government to diversify the economy through agriculture.
Declaring the training workshop open, the state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said the programme was aimed at creating employment for the people as well as reducing poverty and youth restiveness in the state.
The governor, who noted that the north had the capacity to feed the entire nation through massive agriculture, however, lamented that such God-given potentials were underutilised due to overdependence on crude oil revenue and white collar jobs.
The production of wheat in the country is said to be about 300,000 metric tonnes a year, a sharp contrast to the 4.2 million metric tonnes required to keep their factories in operation.
According to the Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, Dr Oluwasina Olabanji, who was represented at the occasion by a senior official from the institute, Dr Dominic Anogie, the average grain yield for wheat in the country is above 2.0 tonnes per hectare, although research has shown that this can be easily tripled if proper varieties and crop management is adopted.
Governor El-Rufai, while calling on the youths to embrace agriculture, said his administration would provide the trainees access to land and other incentives.
He added that the state had the capacity to excel in agriculture even as he announced that plans were underway to get seeds for 50,000 hectres in 2017 for wheat farming.
Some of the trainees and stakeholders were of the opinion that with more farmers going into wheat production, it would reduce the amount being spent on importation of the product annually.
They also identified their major challenges in the state as farm inputs, improved seedlings and access to finance and market, which they want the government to address at the end of the training.
The poor production level of wheat in Nigeria has put the cost of importation of the crop at a staggering 635 billion Naira i.e about $4 billion annually.
The state government believes that by providing over 50,000 hectres of land for its cultivation, it would go a long way in reducing the importation of wheat into Nigeria and also improve the economy.
The Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has lauded the Etsu of Nupe, Brigadier General Yahaya Abubakar (rtd), and the entire Kingdom for maintaining their unique and distinct culture over the centuries.
The governor was speaking when he and his Edo state counterpart accompanied the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris Kpotum, to accept a chieftaincy title bestowed on the top cop by the monarch in his palace in Suleja, Niger State.
While commending the monarch for recognizing and rewarding the good and meritorous work that the IG is doing in the face of daunting national security challenges, the governor said:
“The Etsu of Nupe and the people of his kingdom stand out as a people who cherish and adore their culture and tradition and have managed to sustain the legacy to an appreciable period of time.
“I want to use this opportunity to invite the people of the kingdom and the other guests who came to solidarize with the IG to endeavor to attend the Calabar carnival and savor the legendary warmth and hospitality of Cross River State”. Ayade said.
“My administration has put everything in place to ensure that all visitors to the state during the carnival period not only enjoy their holidays in a peaceful ambiance but will also leave with memories that would linger for a lifetime,” he added.
He was accompanied to the event by the Chairman of the New Cities Development Board, Mr KJ Agba.
The Kwara state government has restated its commitment towards addressing youth unemployment with the resolve to create 20,000 jobs in the agriculture sector.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Adegoke Bamidele, made this known while addressing journalists in Ilorin, the state capital.
He revealed that the government has concluded plans to create the jobs for youths who are interested in agriculture adding that they would be selected across the 16 local government areas of the state.
“There are no criteria for selecting the youths in agricultural business as it is the only alternative source of revenue for government to generate revenue.
“If 20,000 youths are empowered in agricultural business, it will boost the Gross Domestic Products of the state and also enhance its economic development.
“The youths will be trained on farming, piggery, animal husbandry and fishery among others.
“Private organizations are sacking workers on daily basis but the only secured job is skilled jobs and the idea is to make the youths not to depend on government jobs alone but also be self employed,” Mr Bamidele added.
Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have called on Christians and Muslims to respect eachother’s rights to practice their faith without fear of religious discrimination or molestation.
The Bishops of Kaduna and Awka diocese made the plea at the centenary celebration of Catholic Arch-Diocese of Kaduna, North West Nigeria.
While noting that religion should not be seen as a point of friction among people of different faiths, the clergymen pointed out that nations all over the world can only make any meaningful progress when the citizens live in peace and harmony.
They specifically frowned at a situation where churches and Christians are being discriminated against by the government and institutions in some parts of northern Nigeria.
Bishop of Awka Catholic Diocese, Jonas Okoye, therefore appealed to President Muhammdu Buhari to ensure that the rights and privileges of every Nigerian is protected irrespective of religious or ethnic background.
The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has read a riot act on cultism in the state, threatening to jail anyone who violates the cultism law.
The governor who emphasised his administration’s zero-tolerance for cultism and other criminal activities, said any student caught would not only be jailed for 10 years but also rusticated.
He made the comments while speaking at the 23rd combined convocation ceremony of the state polytechnic.
Ahmed also warned parents and guardians to monitor their wards against bad peer groups, adding that they should be moulded to contribute positively to the socio-economic development of the state.
He further explained that asides formal education obtained from the institutions, students do not necessarily have to end up in the line of their course of study.
“You must go out and adapt to several skills that will make you beneficial to yourself and the society, ” Ahmed said.
Furthermore, he stated that “while most students are responsible and focus to achieve success in their chosen careers, a small number decide to indulge in negative and criminal behavior such as cultism.
“Let me make this abundantly clear that my administration has zero tolerance for cultism, I repeat, zero tolerance for cultism within and outside academic institutions.
“Anyone found guilty in the involvement in such illegality risk a ten years jail term, hefty fine and rustication and parents and guardians must keep an eye on their wards,” the governor stressed.
In efforts to cleanse the electoral system, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has begun the arraignment of over 100 electoral officials.
According to reports, the commission is set to charge officials who had received bribes from the $115 million, allegedly disbursed by Diezani-Madueke, a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, during the countdown to the 2015 general elections.
The acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu and the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, would be meeting in Abuja to finalize the charges that would be filed against the suspects.
This was revealed through a statement by the Media Coordinator, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, (CACOL), Wale Salami.
In reaction to the trial, CACOL has asserted that electoral crimes serve as precursors for corruption in governance.
Executive Chairman of the Coalition, Mr Debo Adeniran, commented on the happenings saying, “from these reports, it can be easily deduced that Nigeria’s democracy is regularly put up for auction to the highest bidder”.
He added that, “any electoral official that perpetrates political corruption, which usually leads to the throwing up of corrupt government are culpable in helping looters to the corridors of power.
“They easily put up the mandate of the people up for sale. For years, Nigerians have remained victims of bad leadership which has a strong linkage to failures and corrupt practices perpetrated by electoral officials mostly during elections.
“We commend the EFCC for not leaving any stone unturned in their investigations, while also calling for the prosecution of Diezani-Madueke, and every other electoral officials that took the bribe.
“In the same vein, we are urging the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to begin a review of the electoral commission in order to come up with ingenious protocols to forestall or eradicate any corrupt tendencies in subsequent elections.
“If we do not cleanse our government and electoral process from corrupt elements, then our government would inevitably become a den for thieves.”
He concluded by stating that: “the anti-graft agency and the electoral commission should continue to publish the names of all officials who received bribes so that Nigerians can identify them as the dishonest lot who sold the peoples’ mandate to the highest bidder.
“We call on the government to cleanse the electoral system to forestall corruption in governance,” Adeniran said.
The chairman, governing board of the Nigerian National Merit Award, Professor Etim Essien, has urged the federal government to employ the use of data in its planning, if it is serious about diversifying the economy.
Data collection which can be adequately generated through Information Technology according to the board, is essential to monitor the true state of the nation’s infrastructure, check all sectors and plan more efficiently.
According to Mr Essien: “no country can develop without data; and one of the problems Nigeria has been facing till date is that we don’t have data.
“How can you plan without data? – the easiest form of getting data is through IT,” he explained.
One of the areas which the NNMA believes the government can straighten out through the use of ICT is Nigeria’s population, as the challenge of the actual figure still lingers, although the estimate stands at 180 million.
Findings from various countries confirm the positive effect of ICT on national growth and even currently, ICT is said to contribute about 8% to Nigeria’s GDP.
Some academicians such as the Director of the University of Ibadan, (School of Business), Professor Adenike Osofisan, also proposed that Information Technology should be made compulsory in every school, as a way of advancing development.
The Nigerian National Merit Award is an academic award conferred on distinguished scholars and intellectuals, who have made outstanding contributions to the academic growth and development of Nigeria.
The acting Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has advised newly admitted lawyers to the Nigerian Bar, to perform their roles as legal practitioners with integrity and competence.
Justice Onnoghen told the new wigs who have just completed their legal training from the various campuses of the Nigerian law school to not only cater to the interest of their clients, but that of the larger society while carrying out their judicial duties.
The acting CJN who was performing his first official call-to-bar ceremony since assuming office as the head of the country’s judiciary, also warned the new wigs that the body of benchers would not hesitate to throw out any erring lawyer from the legal profession.
While reminding the celebrants of the rules of professional conduct, Justice Onnoghen admonished the lawyers to shun any act that would bring the profession into disrepute.
He further charged the new lawyers to continue to educate and develop themselves professionally, so as to keep themselves abreast of latest legal developments in the country and across the globe.
The Chairman Senate Committee, On Media Public Affairs, Aliyu sabi- Abdullahi, says that the Nigerian Communications Committee (NCC), did not consult key stake holders on the initial tariff hike plan, which was set to take off from December 1, 2016.
The announcement by the network providers had elicited various reactions from Nigerians and the Senate, who felt the tariff hike would be an added burden, especially with the current economic situation.
The Senate had on Wednesday, described the move as insensitive and raised a motion ordering the NCC to stop it.
Shortly after, the committee announced that it had suspended the plan.
Abdullahi believes that “although it is the responsibility of the NCC as a regulator to regulate the sector, “the law itself does not say you just wake up and do something blanket.
“There are rooms in all of this, for robust consultation and I think the laws are very clear, so when they claim they want to do something, and they’ve consulted, in most instances you have to ask, who did they consult?, he questioned.
In this case, “you can see the minister even denying that he had no fore-knowledge of it, let alone the national assembly; we were not consulted”.
Earlier the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, had said: “I was not part of the decision, I heard it like all Nigerians heard it- I am still going to investigate from NCC to know the rationale”.
The senator however explained that such burning issues would always get the attention of the senate.
According to him, the matter was not debated for too long because everybody uses data and the senators understood the implication of the tariff hike.
“If you look at the data usage, it is a very robust participation and with about 143 active telephone lines, you can imagine the rate at which people are using this data to pass information.
He then re-iterated the senate’s commitment to the welfare of citizens saying:
“The 8th senate is very very alive to its responsibility of being responsive and sensitive to the yearnings of Nigerians.
“The primary purpose of governance is the security and welfare of the citizens and so where this is threatened in any form, I think it is the duty of the National Assembly to rise up to it and see what can be done.
Mr Abdullahi then called on various institutions to discharge their duties efficiently and in accordance with laid down rules and regulations.
“Institutions are to be strengthened, they are created for a purpose but in creating these institutions, the law setting them up has made certain provisions very clear.
“It is now left for them to follow the rules of engagement with their stakeholders.
Stating the instance of the electricity tariff hike, he said the level of consultation was equally not robust.
“We want to urge all regulators, we want the investors to have confidence in your independence and autonomy to discharge your duty.
“But in discharging your duty, you are not discharging it in a vacuum, you are discharging it in an environment where there are stakeholders and that is why these stakeholders are identified in your enabling loss and the various provisions guarding your operations.
Furthermore, he stressed that they should “give the due respect and right, that the various stakeholders deserve so that when we have a consensus, a convergence, we will understand exactly what we are up to, and everybody would be in agreement.
“Under that guise, you will see things working smoothly,” the senator said.