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Buhari Renames UniAgric Makurdi After Joseph Sarwuan Tarka




  • Nigerian Prisons sertvice Now Correctional Service  

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law a bill that changes the name of Nigeria Prison Service to Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), which is viewed as part of his administration’s effort at reforming the prison system in the country. 

The signing of the law came two months after the expiration of the 9th National Assembly, thereby raising concerns as to the legality of the law and if the clerk of the national assembly has such right to withhold bills and transmit them to the president months after the end of an assembly.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate Matter), Senator Ita Enang said this on Wednesday, while speaking to State House Correspondents at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

According to him, this Act repeals the Prisons Acts and changes the name from Nigeria Prisons Service to Nigerian Correctional Service, otherwise known as “the Correctional Service.


There Correctional Service is made up of two main faculties: Custodial Service and Non-custodial Service. 

He explained that the Custodial Service is to take custody and control of persons legally interned in safe, secure and humane conditions; conveying remand persons to and from courts in motorized formations; identifying the existence and causes of anti-social behaviours of inmates; conducting risk and needs assessment aimed at developing appropriate correctional treatment methods for reformation, rehabilitation and reintegration.

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Others include: Implementing reformation and rehabilitation programmes to enhance the reintegration of inmates back into society; initiating behavior modification in inmates through the provision of medical, psychological, spiritual and counseling services for all offenders including violent extremists; empowering inmates through the deployment of educational and vocational skills training programmes, and facilitating incentives and income generation through Custodial Centres, farms and industries; administering borstal and related institutions; Providing support to facilitate the speedy disposal of cases of persons awaiting trial, and It further provides in Section 12 (2) (c).

“that where an inmate sentenced to death has exhausted all legal procedures for appeal and a period of 10 years has elapsed without execution of the sentence, the Chief Judge may commute the sentence of death to life imprisonment. And Section 12 (8) empowers the state Controller of the Service to reject more intakes of inmates where it is apparent that the correctional centre in question is filled to capacity. 

He further explained that ”the non-custodial faculty of the Correctional Service is responsible for the administration of non-custodial measures, namely: Community Service, probation, parole, restorative justice measures and such other measures as a court of competent jurisdiction may order. ”Restorative Justice measure approved in the Act include victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, community mediation and other conciliatory measures as may be deemed necessary pre-trial, trial during imprisonment or even post- imprisonment stages.”

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Also, the President signed into law Federal Universities of Agriculture (Amendment No.2) Act, 2019, changing the name of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi in Benue State to Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi. 

The House of Representatives had in 2016 passed a bill seeking the renaming of the university to J.S Tarka.

Joseph Sarwuan Tarka (1932-1980) was a Nigerian politician from Benue State and a former Minister for Transport and later Communications under the administration of Yakubu Gowon.

He was one of the founding members of the United Middle Belt Congress, a political organization dedicated to advocating autonomy for the country’s Middle Belt.

Tarka was a battle scared politician who underwent several political battles and was jailed on many occasions for his political actvisim as the main opposition leader in the Northern Region.

A colourful and skilled politician with a rare gift of oration, he was reputed for the energetic political campaigns he conducted. He was sometimes called the ‘smiling snake’ for the big smiles he had while speaking.

He was a founding figure of the defunct National Party of Nigeria(NPN) and was a presidential aspirant of the party but lost the ticket to Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Usman Shagari, who eventually got elected President in 1979.

He was then elected Senator in the second republic and became Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts until he died in 1980, while serving in the National Assembly.

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Agriculture is Critical for Nigeria’s Survival, Says AfDB President




By Tony Obiechina, Abuja

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina has described agriculture as being critical for the survival of any nation.

Speaking at the official launch of the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones in Nigeria yesterday the AfDB President stated that the most important role of any nation is feeding its people.

Akinwumi Adesina also stated that with the vast agricultural resources in Nigeria, its citizens have no business being hungry.

The AfDB Boss, who commiserated with the Federal Government on the flooding that is devastating the country, recalled how he had to deal with the worst floods in Nigeria when he was Minister of Agriculture.

He said while floods may wash away some land and harvests, the government must not let the hopes of farmers to be washed away.

He said, “Food is a fundamental human right.

Africa faces huge challenges in meeting its food needs, with 283 million people that go hungry annually.

“Yet Africa has massive agricultural potential. With 65 per cent of the uncultivated arable land left to feed over 9 billion people in the world by 2050 being in Africa, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world.

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“The story is no different in Nigeria, despite positive efforts that have been made to improve the agricultural sector. Food is now beyond the reach of many

“Hunger in Nigeria cannot be justified. Nigeria has the land, with 34 million hectares of arable land with rich and diverse agroecology.

“It has the water. It has the labor. It has great sunshine. Nigeria must achieve zero hunger. There is no reason for anyone to go hungry in Nigeria,” he added.

To help turn this situation around for African countries, Adesina recalled that he prioritized agriculture when he was first elected President of the African Development Bank in 2015.

He said since then, the African Development Bank has committed $25bn to investments in agriculture.

In the past six years, he said the Bank’s financing for agriculture has provided over 76 million farmers with improved agricultural technologies for food security.

Through its Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), he added that the Bank has also provided 12 million farmers with improved climate smart agricultural technologies within three years.

“The African Development Bank is also supporting Nigeria, through TAAT, to produce more wheat, rice and maize.

“This support will allow Nigeria to cultivate by next year 900,000 hectares of rice, 250,000 hectares of wheat and 107,000 hectares of maize.

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“If Ethiopia can do it, Nigeria can do it. If Sudan can do it, Nigeria can do it. However, to achieve these results, Nigeria must decisively tackle insecurity challenges that prevent farmers from going to their farms.

“The private sector cannot invest when there is insecurity. Food security needs national security. The African Development Bank is strongly supporting Nigeria. We have always done so,” he stated.

Adesina put the African Development Bank’s portfolio in Nigeria at $4.6bn, stating that this shows the high priority that the bank accord to Nigeria, across several sectors.

To boost food production in Nigeria, he noted that the bank is already investing $522m, with additional co-financing of $420m from partners.

For the project, he said the African Development Bank is providing $210m for the development of the SAPZs in Nigeria.

“We are delighted with our partnership with the Islamic Development Bank which is co-financing with $150 million, and with the International Fund for Agricultural Development which is co-financing with $160 million.

“The SAPZ program in Nigeria is the largest in Africa. The commitment of the Minister of Agriculture is strong. The commitment by the Minister of Finance is strong.

“The commitment by the State Governors is very strong. The SAPZs in Nigeria are being developed closely with the State Governments,” he added.

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Flood: NACCIMA Seeks Support for Olam, other Businesses




The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), has urged the Federal Government and other relevant agencies to support Olam Limited, Nigeria and other businesses affected by flooding in Nasarawa.

Its Director-General, Mr Olusola Obadimu, made the plea on Monday in Lagos, in his reactions to the Nasarawa flood incident that led to severe losses of food and properties by businesses domiciled in the area.
Obadimu said the call was important because in recent years, Olam Farms had contributed significantly to the nation’s rice consumption.
He said the flood occurrences revealed the possible implications of disregarding the Sustainable Development Goals Seven (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action) were manifesting globally, particularly in African nations and Nigeria.
Obadimu said, this in turn, was causing an increase in the failure to achieve other goals.

He said that though, the 20 million dollar investment was completely insured, the impact of the disaster on the company, the surroundings and the threat to the depreciating environment and its topography could not be overstated.
The director-general advised that the parts that have not been completely submerged at Olam Farm might need some form of immediate rehabilitation.
“We regret the recent flooding in the Doma Local Government and other areas of Nasarawa, reportedly caused by the River Benue overflowing its banks.
“This incident has resulted in a significant loss for various businesses and properties around the area.
“We recognise the contributions of OLAM FARM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to their host communities, as well as the significance of their farm to food production and the agricultural value chain.
“We also recognise the presence of other businesses around this area stretching all the way to the banks of Rivers Niger/Benue Confluence in Kogi State that were direly affected.
“We urge the Federal and affected States Governments, together with relevant government agencies to promptly put in place measures capable of supporting the farm and other businesses around in their salvaging and recovery efforts,” he said.
The NACCIMA chief urged a higher level of responsiveness and absolute regard for NiMET’s warnings about climate change by being more proactive.
He said though, there were natural disasters in other climes, they were usually better managed through proactive steps to ensure minimal damages to both human and material resources.
Obadimu added that significant measures by those climes would protect investments that ensure livelihood for thousands of citizens around disaster-prone areas.
“Nigerians and private businesses must take climate change seriously, particularly concerning the need to minimise Carbon Dioxide emissions and in their corporate responsibilities to promote and advocate the climate change agenda, as well as promote, ultimately, the use of alternative green energy sources in Nigeria,” he said. (NAN)

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Chocolate firm pays N26m to cocoa farmers to improve livelihood




A cocoa company, Barry Callebaut Nigeria, has unveiled a reward initiative to celebrate farmers with high level of commitment in promoting sustainable cocoa farming in the country.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr Adriaan Verbeke, said this in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.

Newsmen report that Barry Callebaut Nigeria is world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products.

Verbeke said that the company would be offering a premium to cocoa farmers under its Cocoa Horizons programme to improve their livelihood.

He said that the company would pay an additional premium totaling N26 million under the programme for deliveries of sustainable cocoa beans in Ondo and Cross River states during the 2021/2022 season.

Verbeke added that the programme would be extended to other regions of the country.

“This significant initiative is in line with the objectives of our cocoa horizons programme aimed at improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities.

“This is through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, and community development.

“Through the cocoa horizon, Barry Callebaut will continue to work closely with local farmers on how to improve their yields, shun cocoa farming activities in protected areas and support “zero child labour” programmes,” he said.

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Verbeke said that over 1,000 farmers in Akure and Ikom recently participated in awareness-raising training courses which addressed critical child labour. (NAN)

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