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Ex- INEC Commissioner Urges FG To Increase Investments In Infrastructure, Agriculture

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Ganiyu Obaaro, Lagos

The Federal Government of Nigeria has been charged to prioritise it’s budgetary spending by placing greater premium on the provisions of infrastructure, such as education, roads and health to enhance meaningful development across the country.

Speaking as the guest lecturer at the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Lagos Traffic Radio Chapel, Ikeja, Lagos State on recently, a University lecturer and Professor of Sociology, University of Lagos, Yaba, Professor Lai Olurode described as unsustainable, the huge funds spent on the nation’s legislators, including Senators and Members of the House of Representatives.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari should use his second term in office to right past wrongs and address security challenges, unemployment and deplorable state of infrastructure in the country.

The theme of the programme, which also marked the chapel’s inaugural  media week and awards to distinguished personalities, including business mogul, Sir (Dr) Adebutu Kessington;  Group Managing Director, Odua Investments Limited; Mr Adewale Raji; General Manager,  Corporate Affairs, Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu and  Secretary, Transportation, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Kayode Opeifa, was: “Democracy and Sustainable Development: Reinventing Media Agenda for Good Governance.”

According to Olurode, who spoke on the topic, entitled: “Democracy and Sustainable Development,” “the rate of poverty and unemployment, especially of able-bodied youths in the country, was worrisome”, warning  however that it did not augur for the development of the nation.

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He said even though democracy has come to stay in the country, the process of democratisation is an ongoing thing and must be allowed to mature.

Olurode, who was a former commissioner in the Professor Attahiru Jega -led National Electoral Commission (INEC) between 2011- 2015, said democracy was better than military rule.

He described the media as critical to democracy, rule of law and development, adding that although the industry was muzzled under the military, the sector has done well in sustaining the current democratisation process, in spite of it’s diverse ownership, structure and challenges.

He urged the media to continue to help nurture democracy, be sensitive to public yearnings and remain resolute in the discharge of its Constitutional duties as the Fourh Estate of the realm.

He criticised the last general elections under the chairmanship of Professor Mamud Yakubu, saying, “It was characterised by violence; while several cases of election petitions are currently in various courts.”

Also speaking at the event, the Group Managing Director of Odua Investments Limited, Mr. Afebsyo Raji called for transparency and accountability in governance. 

He said this is one area of bringing democracy dividends to the people and ensuring national development.

Raji also harped on training as critical to development, pointing out that himself capital development was critical to taking greater heights, reducing dearth of quality personnel in all spheres of the nation’s enterprises.

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Meanwhile, the General Manager of the radio station, Mr. Tayo Akanle commended the chapel for being steadfast in its activities, while the chairman of the chapel, Mr Akin Kola Akinlade spoke of the the essence of the programme as enlightening journalists on their societal responsibilities and, especially, the need to help sustain democracy in Nigeria

Agriculture

FG Establishes 500 Capacity Livestock Farm in Sokoto

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The National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) has established an animal husbandry farm with cow milking parlour.

The farm with capacity for 500 cows and cow milking parlour with capacity of 200 cows in a set, sits on a 100 hectares land in Sokoto State.

NALDA said the idea behind the project was to develop a modern animal husbandry farm that would sustain itself and reduce the movement of cows within the area.

The Executive Secretary, NALDA, Prince Paul Ikonne, who disclosed this while speaking with newsmen after inspecting the farm and the poultry feed mill facility, said he was satisfied with the level of work at the facilities.

He explained that the essence of establishing the modern animal husbandry farm, which has cow pens with napier grass on 50 hectares, with the construction of clinics/veterinary sections and a training centre, was to reduce the movement of cattle and end the farmers/herders clashes.

Ikonne said that NALDA was committed to achieving food security and development, as he assured that the farm would generate employment, hygienic milk production and cow fattening for meat.

At the same time, the farm would train and encourage young farmers to go into animal husbandry and animal food formulation, according to the NALDA boss.

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Construction workers were spotted at the 100 hectares farmland at the section of the clinic and training centre building where work was ongoing, while the 500 cow capacity pens and the cow milking parlour have both been completed.

Also spotted were those watering the napier grass field using the boreholes provided by NALDA at the farm.

The farm is located at Dabagin-lafia, opposite the Usman Danfodio University farm, while the poultry feed mill is situated in Dayin village along the road to Doba, in Sokoto State.

“NALDA is into partnership with Prime Ranch Ltd, who donated the 100 hectares of land where we are establishing the animal husbandry farm, napier grass field and will cultivate maize and millet on 30 hectares of the said land,” Ikonne stated.

“The establishment of the napier grass field is to ensure feed production for the cows, as that will eliminate the roaming around of the animals in search of feed, thereby curtailing farmer/herder clash.

“The milking parlour will serve both the cows in the farm and other animal husbandry farmers who would want their cows milked in a hygienic way.

“Prime Ranch will manage the farm on completion based on their wealth of experience in animal husbandry. This type of partnership is sustainable, productive and should be encouraged in order for us to achieve food security and development,” he added.

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On employment opportunities through the partnership, Ikonne stated that with the establishment of the poultry feed mill, which Prime Ranch provided the land and was managing the 62,000 poultry capacity, there would be feed production for small farmers across the zone and other parts of the country.

He said job opportunities would also be created for those who would work at the milking parlour by attending to the cows.

“The employment chain will not be anything less than 400, consisting of workers who would be directly involved in these activities, outside the output, which is achieving food sufficiency,” he stated.

Also speaking during inspection of both projects, the farms and feed mill, the Founder, Prime Ranch Ltd, Nafiu Yakubi, said the partnership with NALDA was coming into fruition.

“The thinking when we incorporated Prime Ranch years back, is to have a ranch kind of arrangement whereby we grow our animals, grow their feeds, fatten them, and sell them off to the market. The partnership with NALDA is a very cordial one. They support us in all areas that we need support from them,” he said.

On the output from the partnership, Yakubu said, “Arising from this partnership with NALDA, you have seen the feed mill. We are currently producing feed for our poultry and other NALDA poultry farmers.”

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He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for encouraging young farmers through NADLA, stressing that the President had called Nigerians to return to farming, as he urged Nigerian youths to yield to the call.

“I am a lawyer and I am back to the farm, so Nigerian youths should go back to farming. It is very profitable and the opportunities are very wide,” Yakubu stated.

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Agriculture

Agric Ministry, Lagos Govt Partner on Proper Nationwide Meat Haulage

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Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu
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The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has said it was ready to work with Lagos State government in order to improve the distribution of meat across the country.

Speaking during a study tour and stakeholders engagement to understudy the air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets in Lagos State recently, the Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria and Director Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Dr.

Maimuna Abdullahi Habbib said the objectives of the tour was to understudy the state air-cool Meatvans, the Abattoirs and the Slaughterhouses.

She revealed that the Ministry would facilitate the process to ensure that a policy was drafted to ensure smooth operations, enforcement and implementation of the process across the nation, pointing out  that the Ministry had procured 37 vehicles that would be distributed to butchers for free in order to facilitate the process across the country”.

She further stated that the Ministry would strengthen it collaboration with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to make every structure and every movement of meat from abattoir to the market across the country a success. 

In her remarks the Hon. Commissioner Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture Ms. Ruth Abisola Olusanya said that “prior to the launching of Eko Meat van Project in Year 2004, Meat haulage business in Lagos State was rather disorganised, haphazard and unregulated, adding that wooden carts were used to transport Meat and Carcasses from Abattoirs and Slaughter facilities to the deboning and bulk-breaking sections.

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She pointed out that four Private investors and Butchers Association Group formed the executing stakeholders to run the fleet of air-cool Meatvans from the Abattoirs and Slaughterhouses to the various meat markets statewide, noting that the project was funded by Polaris bank in agreement with the stakeholders.

She further stated that In 2009, the Ministry launched the Eko Refrigerated Meatvan Project which was an advancement of the air-cool Eko Meatvans into refrigerated form and a total of fourteen private investors’ companies along with the State Butchers Association’s and Lagoon Butchers Ventures were successfully –screened and licensed to operate the project under a jointly-registered cooperative umbrella (Agege Meat van Multipurpose Cooperative society).

In his welcome address, the state Director of veterinary services Dr. Macaulay Rasheed Molade said that “the refrigerated meat transportation project runs from 2009 till date and it is involved in the daily haulage of Meat carcasses, cattle officials, head and feet as well as other cow parts from the abattoirs/slaughter facilities to the various meat markets”.

Earlier, in his Goodwill message, the Chairman Lagos State butchers Association Mr. Alabi Bamidele Kazeem said that “the butchers have been supportive to the state government and will continue give its maximum cooperation”.

The Essence of the Visit was to understudy the model of meat haulage in the state’s abattoirs, under the umbrella company known as the EKO REFRIGERATED MEAT HAULAGE. It aimed at adopting the best practices in our abattoirs nationwide and learn from the challenges that come from the initiatives in order to improve on them.

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In attendance were Representative of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), National Agricultural Insurance Cooperation (NAIC), the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) and the CEO A is Farmers Market.

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Kwara Leads in Catfish Production with 45 Tonnes Daily Production

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From Alfred Babs, Ilorin

Kwara state is the highest producer of Catfish in Nigeria as Farmers claimed that no less than 45 tonnes of fish loaded in buses move out of the state daily, deputy coordinator of fish farmers in the state, Brigadier General Saidu Olasupo (retd) has disclosed.

Speaking with reporters at the meeting of the State Fish farmers held in Ilorin, the state capital on Thursday, Olasupo said that no fewer than 30 buses loaded with 1.

3 tonnes of catfish each moved of the state every day.

The retired Army officer who said that many youths have embraced fish farming in Kwara state added that their contribution to the economy of the state is huge.

Olasupo who said that he turned to fish farming after retiring from the Military Service stated that Kwara state is

highest producer of catfish in Nigeria, adding that the state ranked

amongst the 10th in Africa.

He said, “currently, we have 35 clusters and each of the clusters has minimum of 50 registered members.

“Our contributions which are both tangible and intangible- to the economy of the state is huge. Each day we have nothing less than 30 buses loaded with

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fish and each with a load of about 1.3 tonnes moving out of Kwara.

There is no family directly or indirectly that is not affected by this business that we are doing. Take the value-chain for instance. We have fish food millers, major distributors, minor distributors and even Olam Company etc.”

Speaking on the challenges facing the farmers, Olasupo said, “There is no business without challenges. There are challenges with the farmers themselves

as well as the buyers of the product.

“The skyrocketing rise in the pump price of automotive gas oil (Diesel),

premium motor spirit (Petrol) otherwise known as petrol or even the

engine oil. Of course if the inputs go up, it is expected that the price of production will go up.

“However, cost of production or inputs is going up, but the increase in price of the final fish itself is not commensurate with the spiral rise in the prices of those inputs.”

For coordination and effectiveness, he said that “fish farmers started

registration with the state Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development last year. Very soon we will have huge data that will be known to government. This will enable the government to take informed decisions on how to help the fish farmers.”

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Olasupo however appealed to the government to come to the aid of fish farmers especially by subsidizing inputs needed by the farmers and adequate provision of water from it dams as the success of fish farming depends majorly on availability of Water.

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