Deputy Speaker Suggests Way Out Of Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange Crisis

Yusuf-Lasun-deputy-speakerScarcity of the dollar and huge reliance on imported goods in Nigeria have been linked to the high exchange rate of the dollar to the Naira, a situation that has seen the parallel market rate rise to as much as 500 Naira to a dollar.

The Nigerian government has explored several strategies to push the Naira up, including a flexible foreign exchange policy but the rate is still high, and has been stable at a the moment, hovering around 460 to 490 Naira to a dollar in the parallel market.

However, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf, thinks there is a solution found in a drastic decision that the nation has to take.

Amidst this crisis is the reality that Nigeria is blessed with large arable land but the nation still imports food.

Path Of Economic Doldrum

Honourable Yusuff is, therefore, suggesting that an end should be put to incessant importation of food produce from other countries.

Presenting three tractors and other implements to farmers in Osogbo, the capital of Osun State, the Deputy Speaker said the current problem of foreign exchange could be tackled if the country could look inward in providing its own foods.

Agriculture experts have said that the kind of farming that will benefit a nation is that done with mechanised implements

Statistics show that Nigeria currently imports food items worth over two trillion Naira despite the huge agricultural resources and potential.

Worried by this trend, the call for all to return to the farm has been the chant of governments at all levels.

Perhaps, this prompted Honourable Yussuff to donate the tractors to the Farmers Association in Osogbo, Irepodun and Olorunda Local Government Areas, as he explained that the “Federal Government is very serious about agriculture and very committed to it. The only route we can take now to quickly get us out of this recession is through farming and any country that is not able to feed itself is not likely to quickly get out of poverty.

“I only urge our leaders that people in government should make deliberate efforts to go back to their constituencies to make an input in a manner that will allow people to get empowered and be developed. Other people can go to neither sectors. They can build hospitals, produce drugs and equipment and build schools. In the last six years I have been able to build about sixty classrooms”.

He says a country with food importation running to about a third of its annual fiscal budget must know that it is threading on the path of economic doldrum irrespective of fuel slump.

While presenting the three tractors with coupled implement to the farmers through the Farmers Association in Osun State, the Deputy Speaker said all must support the government in its strive for sustainable development through agriculture which he believes is the surest path out if current economic hiccups for the country through food self-sufficiency.

“This is beyond empowerment. It has to do with a fundamental part of life. Farming is so important in the sense that the Yorubas have an adage that when you are able to feed yourself, you have solved half of your problem and it goes without saying that any nation that is able to feed itself, is on the path of greatness. So, what I have done today is basically because we are trying to kick-start our developmental programme in Nigeria and the only way we can do so is to first revert to a sector where we will be able to feed ourselves and that can only happen by going into extensive farming.

Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf, handing over the tractors to the farmers

“Also, you all know farming by hoes and cutlass can not feed a family talk less of a nation, so I have only tried to tell people that yes we are asking them to go back to farm to work with this tractors. This programme was organised and supervised by the Farmers Association of Osun State and I am a farmer too. So, I’ve promised to be supporting them so that we can take Nigeria out of the rot,” he stressed.

Receiving the tractors and a donation of two million Naira on behalf of the farmers, the chairman of All farmers Association of Nigeria, Osun State chapter, Kayode Afolabi, said farmers deserved more than lips service support.

He said: “Since crude oil seemed to be failing Nigeria, the surest way out is agriculture.

“We are extremely pleased with what has happened here. The provision of these three brand new tractors in addition to two million Naira cash offered to us by Honourable Lasun Yusuf. We are very pleased. The significance of this gesture is that, it will solve to a very great extent the challenges of farmers in the state. It has been one of our greatest challenges especially the lack of tractors and now that he has done it, to use it is a massive gift. We have never seen this kind of gesture before.

“We will use the tractors very well. This is non-political gift and amongst us we have people who are from different political group and we promise that we will make optimum utilisation of this tractors to boost Agriculture in our state”.

The three tractors and coupled implements are said to cost about 60 million Naira.

Road Safety Officials Begin Special End Of Year Patrol

FRSC-2-620x400The Federal Road Safety Commission  (FRSC) in Nigeria has flagged off the 2016 end of year special patrol and ember months’ sensitisation programme for commercial drivers in Osun State.

The flag-off was commissioned by Zonal Corps Commander of the FRSC zone 11, Assistant Corps Marshal Aipoh and the State Sector Commander, Umar Ibrahim.

According to Mr Ibrahim, the high rate of road accidents in some flashpoints of the state including the Ilesa-Akure Road necessitated the special patrol to complement the ember months’ campaign which had been a yearly campaign to curb incessant road accidents and avoidable loss of lives during the last three months of the year.

“Speed is sweet for those behind the wheel, be it private or commercial drivers and even motorcyclists but the repercussion is what we are here to guard against and we believe our roads are going to be safer than it has ever been in the past during the coming festive seasons”.

The Osun State sector commander said with the theme ‘Crash the Crash, Speed Kills’, the five major causes of road accidents during the festive seasons would be tackled to make the highways and other road networks in the state safe.

Mr Ibrahim further highlighted, that “over speeding, overloading, wrong overtaking, dangerous driving as well as following the wrong way which we call road violation” are the key areas to be focused on during the campaign”.

Participants at the event including private and commercial drivers as well as students from selected schools commended the Road Safety Corps for bringing some level of sanity to the Nigeria roads urging them to do more to ensure that crashes on the roads are brought to the lowest.

The Chairman of the Motorcycle Transport Union of Nigeria (MUTUN), Osun State chapter, Gbenga Ajenifuja, said that there was still more to be done between the Road Safety officials and road users.

Ajenifuja, told reporters that “issues like driving without helmet, refocusing the headlights skyward as well as drunk driving would be checked among my members across the branches in Osun state”.

The representative of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mr Rauf Adeyemo, said things were gradually changing, as commercial drivers now adhere more to traffic and road regulations due to such sensitisation.

Labour Union Promises To Support Osun State To Grow Revenue

Rauf Aregbesola and Osun State Labour Union on revenueThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Osun State Chapter, has assured the State government that workers in the state would continue to partner with it, to ensure that the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is improved.

They believe that revenue growth would enable the government meet its statutory duty.

The State Chairman of the union, Jacob Adekomi, gave the assurance on Thursday ‎while speaking to Channels Television in Osogbo the State’s Capital.

The NLC chairman said Governor Rauf Aregbesola, in response to a letter written to him by the labour unions, promised to look into the general welfare of the workforce in the state.

The Governor, according to him, has directed that the 2014 and 2015 leave bonus of the workers be approved for payment.

He stated that the Governor at a meeting with all the Labour leaders in the state assured them that the arrears of salaries owed workers on Grade Level Eight and above would be paid as soon as funds were available.

“The Labour leaders wrote a letter to the Governor, demanding for full payment of salaries, from July last year for Level Eight and above, also demanding for the withdrawal of the circular prohibiting promotion confirmation and arrears of pension to be paid and also welfare packages for the workers generally.

“The Governor invited us for a meeting ‎last week and there the Governor said he knows he is owing us, those arrears of salaries and he is going to pay.

“He even encouraged us to look inward to do a lot of things to improve the IGR so that the IGR can be used to augment the allocation coming from the Federal Account.

“He has said that if he has more than enough to pay full salaries, he will pay,” the union leader stated.

“The Governor also said that if he had more than enough money in Osun, ‎he can even increase our salaries and give the committee involved to pay more than what the workers are earning now. He only tasked us to go to all agencies to encourage them to pay their taxes and do their civic duties so salaries can be paid as at when due,” he also told reporters.

On the issue of the tertiary institutions’ lecturers that were disengaged earlier this year, Mr Adekomi said that the Governor had told them that the Speaker of the House of Assembly in the state had forwarded the report of the committee to him.

He said that the Governor had also promised that he would look into the report and take action on it.

“We a have a good relationship with the State government and as far as we are concerned we have no problem with him.

It is only the money that is not there that is the issue,” he added

Osun NLC Suspends Strike Again, Recalls Workers

osun workers strike-nlcThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Osun State has again suspended its ongoing eight weeks industrial action, with a call on Workers to resume work immediately.

The workers union ended the strike after it singed another Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) with the State government at the Governors Office in Abere, Osun State.

The Chairman of the NLC in Osun State, Jacob Adekomi, explained that the agreement contained a promise to pay workers the salary for February 2015, with effect from August 3, while the balance of the fraction payment made to level eight and above would be returned.

Adekomi said that the decision to suspend the industrial action was in the interest of the state workforce and the State government, believing that the government would live up to its part of the agreement.

While directing all the workers to resume with immediate effect, the NLC Chairman maintained that the state government had renewed its commitment to full employment ‎and not retrenchment of its workforce.

The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, said that the government had never reneged on its agreement. He also explained that the industrial action was due to shortfall in the Federal Allocation which was not peculiar to the state alone.

Last week, the Labour Leaders resolved to continue with the strike until the State government fulfilled its part of the agreement contained in the MoU.

However, the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council (JNC), Bayo Adejumo, maintained that workers would not return to work until the full payment of January and February salary was implemented.

Osun Election: APC Alleges Plan By PDP To Scuttle Rally In Ile-Ife

APC logoAhead of campaign flag-off for the reelection bid of Osun State Governor, Rauf Aregbesola, the All Progressive Congress, APC, Osun State Chapter, says it has uncovered plans by the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to cause mayhem and scuttle its rally in Ile-Ife.

Addressing newsmen in Ile-Ife, the Chairman of APC Campaign Committee for Ife Zone, Folorunso Bamisayemi, stated that the plot to cause mayhem and prevent the party from kick-starting its rally would not hold as the APC was poised to continue the developmental programmes is has for the state.

Bamisayemi, however, said that the party has alerted the Police and the Department of State Security Service, DSS, about the plot and warned whoever was behind it to desist from such acts capable of causing chaos in the town.

He called on Osun citizens to be vigilant in the days, weeks and months ahead of the August 9 governorship election.

In a swift reaction, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, Bola Ajao, debunked the allegation against his party.

He said that if there were indeed evidences of plan to cause mayhem anywhere in the state, APC should inform the Police and other security agencies rather than run to the press.

He said that all political parties should endeavor to concentrate on issues and ensure there is peace in the State of Osun.

CAN Denies Involvement In Ban Of Teaching CRS In Muslim Schools

The Chairman of the Christian Association Of Nigeria(CAN), Osun State chapter Superior Evangelist Abraham Aladeseye  has dissociated CAN from  reports about a proposed ban by the state government on the teaching of  Christian Religious studies (CRS) in public schools established by  Muslim missionaries.

Speaking to journalists in Osogbo the state capital, Superior Evangelist Aladeseye said there was never a time CAN issued and signed any communique to that effect.

He added that the report did not emanate from CAN’s office and called on the newspaper that reported the story to produce evidence to verify its claim.

Aladeseye who described the relationship between CAN and the state government as harmonious cautioned that the church should not be used as a platform for politics of acrimony.

On the issue of unified school uniform for pupils in public schools in the state, the CAN chairman said a meeting was called at the instance of the Deputy Governor where both Muslim and Christian leaders in the state were adequately briefed on the need for the uniformity in the education sector which is all aimed at giving quality education to public school pupils.