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CAN kicks Against RUGA Settlement in Nigeria




The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has told the Federal Government to jettison the planned RUGA scheme, saying the association was opposed to the implementation of the programme anywhere in Nigeria,

On May 21, the Federal Government approved what it termed the RUGA settlement scheme, to curb open grazing of animals nationwide.

RUGA entails the settlement of animals by farmers in an organised place with the provision of necessary amenities.

The President of CAN, Pastor Samson Ayokunle, announced the position of the association at a church leaders’ summit in Lagos on Saturday.

“We, the Christian body call on the Federal Government to immediately suspend and abrogate the RUGA settlement programme,’’Ayokunle stated.

According to him, anything that smacks of mutual distrust should be avoided in the interest of national unity.

He said also that the perception by many Christians that CAN had not been showing enough interest in national issues was wrong.

“Let me state it here that our position, although it may differ from that of government is not opposition but a way of helping those in government.

“Our position is a way of helping those in government by calling their attention to the dangers that may come from the proposed action if adequate caution is not considered.

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“We, the Christian body also kick against the Control of Waterways Bill now before the National Assembly. The Control of Waterways by the Federal Government Bill before the National Assembly should be rejected.

“Waterways in each locality should be controlled by local authorities. God created the waterways there. At most they should be controlled by State Governments.”

The CAN chief advised the Federal Government to intensify efforts on the establishment of modern ranching facilities, abattoirs and meat processing firms.

Also speaking, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, said that he supported the position of CAN on the RUGA settlement issue.

“CAN must do everything possible to let the world know that CAN is one. Whatever the CAN president says is the final,” he said.

The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, in a message, said that building of the nation is in the hands of God.

He pleaded with Nigerians to pray to God for supernatural intervention in the affairs of Nigeria, saying: “we need to cry to God to help Nigeria.”

Osinbajo was represented by the Chaplain of Aso Rock Chapel, Pastor Sheyi Malomo.

Church leaders at the summit include Pastor Felix Omobude, President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.

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Elder Napo Emuchey, President of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, Rev. S.T.V. Adegbite, President of the Christian Council of Nigeria and Benebo Fubara-Manuel, among others.

The theme of the summit is: “RUGA: The Church Response in the 21st Century.’’ (NAN)


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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Ondo Govt begins Verification of Forest Allottees




Ondo State Government has begun the  verification of allotees operating in forests in the state, as part of efforts to stop conflict of interest between government and allotees.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Olayato Aribo, at the inauguration of the committee on Tuesday in Akure, appreciated the members of the committee for accepting to serve.

Newsmen report that the committee has as its Chairman, Mr Anjola Samuel, who retired as Director of Forestry in the ministry.

Aribo said that the exercise would pave way for proper monitoring and evaluation of the forest reserves in the state.

The commissioner said that the exercise would rid the forest of illegal allottees, adding that any allottee who failed to show up for the exercise would be considered as no more interested in his allocation.

Aribo urged the committee to ensure that all allottees were screened, stressing that no genuine allottee should be left out.

The commissioner charged the committee to do a good job that would stand the test of integrity anytime, explaining that he sought to put the records straight as regards logging activities in the state.

“All allottees that do not appear for verification of their forest allocations will be regarded as no longer interested in participating in logging activities in the state and deemed to have forfeited such allocation.

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” You must ascertain the number of genuine forest allottees with valid documents and approvals to operate in each forest.

“Also, you must  ascertain the payment made by each allottee to date and  recommend as appropriate the payment of any indebtedness to the state government.

“Come up with a list of all eligible forest allottees in each of the forest reserves and  ascertain the numbers of various hammer holder and their indebtedness,” he said.

He promised the state government’s total support for the committee to achieve the desired goals.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, its chairman, Mr Anjola  Samuel, thanked the Ministry; especially the commissioner, for counting them worthy by extending his  hands of fellowship to them to carry out the assignment.

He told the commissioner that the committee had invited all allottees and the exercise would be successful, saying competent hands were selected  to  serve  on the committee.

He assured  thd state that the committee would deliver on its  terms of reference and that  its reports would be submitted  to the state government in due time.

Newsmen report that the committee was inaugurated by the Administrative Secretary, Mr David Adesina, on Monday.

It was mandated, among other things, to ascertain the number of genuine forest allottees in the state based on each of the forest reserves.

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The Committee was given two weeks to submit its report. (NAN)

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Kogi VCDP Distributes Tricycles Worth Millions Of Naira To Farmers




From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja

The Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Kogi under the FGN/IFAD assisted project, has distributed tricycles worth millions of naira to VCDP farmers to boost their farming activities in the state.

The distribution ceremony was  witnessed by Hon. Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development  Hon.

David Apeh, at the Kogi VCDP office in Lokoja.

The Commissioner was visibly happy with the happenings in VCDP and how farmers were being supported in the state.

Presenting the tricycle to one of the farmers Hajia Rabi Abubakar from Ajaokuta LGA, Apeh lauded the government of Alhaji Yahaya Bello for always standing by the programme in the State.

He advised beneficiaries to be good ambassadors of the project and the State as they continue to work hard to earn a good living.

The Commissioner also commended the efforts of the state Programme Coordinator to keep the flag of success flying always as she pilot the affairs of VCDP in the State.

Also speaking, Mrs  Vera Onyilor, the National Knowledge Management and Communications Advisor IFAD/VCDP, who monitored the distribution, commended the managerial acumen of the State Programme Coordinator.

She said that  there was every assurance that the lives of the beneficiaries would change for better courtesy of VCDP, while urging the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the machine.

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Earlier, the State Programme  Coordinator, Dr Stella Adejoh, said the tricycles were distributed to help the farmers in transporting their farm produce as well as using them for transportation business to generate income.

She explained that the beneficiaries were some of the farmers already captured on their data base in the five benefiting local government areas in the state.

She urged the beneficiaries to make judicious use of the items for the benefit of their families, the state and the nation in general.

She noted that the tricycles were not totally free that the beneficiaries had paid their matching grants, which was to enable them show commitment and take ownership of the items given to them.

She disclosed that several of such tricycles had been distributed in batches to beneficiaries in the past, saying the feedback from them had been success stories with positive results.

She reiterated that the development objective of VCDP “is to ensure food security, empower the rural farmers to lift them out of poverty and enhance the economy on sustainable basis.

She expressed her delight on the distribution and the impacts the VCDP had made in achieving its goals and objectives in the state.

Dr Adejoh thanked His Excellency Gov. Yahaya Bello for his commitment towards the VCDP project, noting that the governor was always interested in improving and better the wellbeing of the citizens of the state.

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On his part, Engr. Gabriel Salihu who is in charge of the Sub Component, encouraged the beneficiaries to always maintain the tricycles so that the machines will make them better, stressing that the life span of every equipment is dependent on the level of maintenance.

One of the beneficiaries, who is Physically Challenged, Mr Armstrong Shuaibu, thanked the State Government and Kogi VCDP for the gesture to alleviating their  suffering.

He opined that the opportunity will not be miss used.

He promised that the tricycle would be used for the intended purpose to enhance their his productivity and support his family and indeed render services to the entire community.

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