Connect with us


Ogun: Stakeholders Express Concerns over Continued Hike in Prices of Foodstuffs




Stakeholders in Ogun have raised concerns over the continued hike in prices of food items across the nation.

The stakeholders, in separate interviews in Abeokuta on Monday, identified the causes and proffered solutions to the challenges, amidst reported government’s interventions in the agricultural sector.

Mr Abiodun Ogunjimi, the Secretary of All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Ogun chapter, noted that the situation had reached an alarming state.

Ogunjimi listed the possible causes of soaring prices of foodstuffs to include: high cost of transportation, increasing inability of farmers to go to farms due to insecurity, foreign exchange crisis, climate change and lack of access to loan facilities by farmers.

He advised the Federal Government to synergise with state governments to create enabling environment to boost food production.

The AFAN secretary also urged the Ogun government to check the adverse effects of urbanisation on agriculture.

“The increasing rate of migration from rural areas in the state to urban centres has led many farmlands to be abandoned and converted to other uses that are not beneficial to agriculture.

“Government needs to pay adequate attention to rural dwellers and ensure that its presence is felt so as to discourage such migration,” he said.

He also called on government to embark on effective irrigation projects across the state to reduce sole dependence on rain for farming.

“This measure will enable farmers to farm all-year round and boost production, thereby forcing prices of food items down,” he said.

Ogunjimi stressed the need for the state government to engage in buying farm produce directly from farmers to discourage movement of food items to neighborhouring countries.

He noted that such step had become necessary to address the loss being incurred by farmers through the activities of middlemen who usually buy from them at ‘ridiculously low prices’ and sell at high prices to consumers.

Ogunjimi also advised the government to ensure that farmers were involved in the formulation and implementation of policies on agriculture.

“It is the farmers who know better what their challenges are and the way to resolve them.

“It is not government officials who sit in the comfort of their offices and just imagining the problems and proffering solutions,” he said.

In his contribution, Mr Austin Owezie, an agriculture expert, called for deployment of more security personnel in rural areas, particularly the forests from where kidnappers, bandits and herders often operate.

“Security of farmers is crucial to food production and unless this is priotitised, all other efforts will just be a waste,” he said.

Owezie, who frowned at importation of seedlings for planting, noted that doing this would mean that Nigeria had indirectly handed over its food production to foreign countries.

According to him, such situation will engender ‘food colonialism’.

He, therefore, called for increased funding of the various agricultural research institutes across the country to enable them assist in the development and use of indigenous seedlings to boost agriculture.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Hon. Bolu Owotomo, said that the state government had continued to invest in agriculture to boost food production.

Owotomo said that government had massively supported farmers with inputs and also built their capacities toward increased productivity.

He said that more than 30,352 farmers had benefitted from various input distributions at subsidised rate of 50 per cent under various intervention programmes.

The commissioner listed some the inputs distributed to the farmers to include: fertilisers, urea, herbicides, cassava bundles, faro and ofada rice seeds as well as maize seeds.

“Capacity building was also organised for more than 46,000 small-holder farmers on sustainable agriculture, improved knowledge and productivity under the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), OG-CARES Fadama RA 2 project and Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP).
“The ministry carried out reforms on agricultural land allocation to investors to enhance access to agricultural land in which a total of 8,550 hectares had been allocated to private investors across the state on different agricultural value chains,” he said.

On loan facilities, Owotomo said that government had disbursed N50 million loan to Ijebu Development Initiative on Poverty Reduction (IDIPR), Eriwe, Ijebu-Ode.

He further stated no fewer than 587 VCDP beneficiaries across the eight participating council areas had been linked with FCMB for financial credit.

Ogunjimi added that 95 small-holder farmers had been able to access loans from FCMB for cassava and rice production, valued at N26.7 million.

The commissioner explained that the government had already mapped out strategies to ensure that farmers and their produce were secured to enhance productivity.

Dr Samuel Nzekwe, a former President of Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN), in his submission, emphasised the need for fixing the economy for agricultural sector to thrive.

Nzejwe urged governments at various levels to invest in provision of critical infrastructure, such as stable power supply, good road network and adequate security, among others, to drive the economy.

“The availability of stable electricity supply will help both small and medium businesses to thrive, as their impacts will positively contribute to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“Government needs to proactively address the challenges that are not making the real sector to produce enough goods and services for local consumption,” he said.

The former ANAN president also urged the federal government to repair all the nation’s refineries and halt importation of crude oil.

This, according to him, is also a contributing factor to the continuous rise in inflation rate and volatility in foreign exchange.

Dr Tunde Adeoye, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Lagos, said government needed to exercise political will to address the current security challenge in the country.

Adeoye noted that once the country is seen to be secure, foreign investors would be attracted, foreign earnings increased and the economy stabilised. (NAN)


Constitutional Amendment Crucial for Efficient Implementation of LG Autonomy – Lawyer




An Umuahia-based Legal Practitioner, Mr Chuwkuemeka Nwachukwu, has said that the 1999 Constitution must be amended to allow for effective implementation of the Supreme Court judgment on Local Government (LG) autonomy.

Nwachukwu said this in an interview in Umuahia on Friday.

He said that the 1999 Constitution as amended “has a lot of loopholes”, which must be critically addressed before the LG Autonomy Act and judgment of the nation’s apex court could be effectively enforced.

He, therefore, called for an Executive Bill from the Presidency for the immediate amendment to take care of “the lacuna in the Constitution that has been pointed out over the years”.

Nwachukwu said that failure to do so could undermine the import of the landmark Supreme Court judgment of Thursday on LG autonomy.

He said that clear legal frameworks were essential for effective governance and implementation of judicial decisions.

According to him, this will help to ensure that LGs can operate as an autonomous third tier within defined legal boundaries, thereby enhancing local administration and accountability.

The legal practitioner also called on the Federal Government to set up a monitoring mechanism for checks and balances in the implementation of the judgment across the states of the federation.

Also reacting to the judgment, the immediate past Chairman, National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Abia chapter, Mr Ikechi Nwaigwe, said the Supreme Court’s decision had nothing to cheer about yet.

Nwaigwe said that until every process was put in place to realise the desired LG autonomy, Nigerians should not think it is yet Uhuru.

He argued that desperate Nigerian politicians would always work against the wishes of the people with all their might.

“I am not yet excited by the decision of the Supreme Court, which affirmed the financial autonomy of the LG system.

“It is a good development but we have not reached our El dorado on the issue of LG autonomy.

“I said so because I know Nigerian politicians are desperate and can work so hard to upturn the process of achieving complete autonomy because it will be for the good of the Nigerian people.

“I will be excited if President Bola Tinubu will ensure that the process is completed with necessary legislation passed and proper implementation begun,” he said.

Nwaigwe said that the process of getting proper autonomy should not overlook the process of who becomes LG chairman and persons who might be godfathers to them.

“The process of reaching the desired destination should also ensure the Independent National Electoral Commission conducts the elections to promote competition among parties.

“If the State Governments, through their State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), conduct the elections, the judgment will not achieve the desired goal.

“The state governors will still manipulate the SIECs and the elections,” he said.

In Imo, the state Chairman of NULGE, Mr Charles Okere, said that the LG autonomy would help to promote the welfare of council woŕkers.

Okere, who hailed the judgment, said it would facilitate projects execution according to the peculiar needs of the people at the grassroots.

“The judgment is a welcome development even though it only guarantees financial autonomy because the councils’ administrative responsibility still rests with the State Assemblies,” he said. (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign News

ECOWAS Court Nullifies ECOWAS Commission Staff’s Dismissal




The ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying it breached Article 69 of the ECOWAS staff regulations.

Cham had filed the suit following his dismissal from his position as a Procurement Officer with the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing (GIABA), a specialised ECOWAS agency.

The applicant, a community citizen residing in Banjul, Gambia, had joined the Economic Commission for West African States (ECOWAS) and its President, as first and second Respondents, respectively, in the suit challenging his sack.

Delivering judgment, Justice Dupe Atoki, the Judge Rapporteur, held that the cessation of Cham’s salary by the Commission before the exhaustion of the appeal process was arbitrary, unlawful, null, and void.

According to Justice Atoki, the action of the Commission is contrary to Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

The Court, therefore, ordered the Respondents to pay Cham his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021 to June 2021, as compensation.

It further ordered the Commission to pay Mr Cham’s salaries and emoluments from July to December 2021 as compensation for the unlawful dismissal.

“Requesting an on-the-spot response to charges without prior notice or an opportunity to prepare a defense violates procedural safeguards outlined in the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

“The regulations are designed to ensure an Applicant’s rights are fully maintained until the Council’s final decision.

“Consequently, the summary dismissal of the Applicant by the 2nd Respondent breached Article 69 of the regulation.

“Therefore, the cessation of the Applicant’s salary and other emoluments after invoking the right of appeal is a violation of Article 73(b) of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations,” Justice Atoki held.

The Court, however, declined to grant any orders for mandatory injunctions against the Commission and reinstatement of the applicant .

The Applicant had contended at the trial that he was suspended on July 11, 2019, following a forensic audit report by Ernst and Young UK, which implicated him in irregularities related to the purchase of IT equipment for GIABA.

He said that on Jan. 26, 2021, he was summarily dismissed, and his salaries and emoluments were withheld in violation of the ECOWAS Staff Regulations.

Cham had prayed the court to grant him several reliefs, including a declaration that his dismissal was arbitrary, null, and void.

He also sought an order setting aside his dismissal and the immediate payment of his salary arrears and other entitlements from January 2021.

The applicant had also prayed for his reinstatement to his position as a Procurement Officer and compensation for costs incurred in prosecuting the suit.

The Respondents, in their defense, had however, maintained that the applicant was properly suspended and later dismissed following a forensic audit report and a subsequent query.

They had also argued that the dismissal was appropriate due to the allegations of gross misconduct, embezzlement, theft, fraud, and abuse of trust.

The three-member panel also had Justices Gberi-bè Ouattara, presiding, and  Sengu Mohamed Koroma, as a member.(NAN)

Continue Reading


Gunmen Abducts Acting Rector Benue Polytechnic, Demand N70m Ransom 




From Attah Ede Makurdi 

Acting Rector, Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Barki has been abducted by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers.

He was kidnapped while returning from Makurdi to Ugbokolo after official assignment that took place in the State capital, Wednesday.

It was gathered that the Acting Rector was kidnapped along side with some management staff of the polytechnic and his driver.

It was further gathered that the abductors moved them away from the highway and reportedly abandoned the official vehicle of the polytechnic.

A source who disclosed this to newsmen in Makurdi on Friday, on condition of anonymity, said the abductors called the family of the Acting Rector and demanded for N70m as ransom after 24 hours that he was kidnapped with his driver and other management staff of the Polytechnic.

Some since the incident happened, prominent individuals have been paying visit to the family of the Acting Rector to sympathize with them.

The immediate past Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Benue State chapter, Rev. Dr. Augustine Akpen Leva, condemned the dastardly act and prayed for the immediate release of the Acting Rector.

Dr. Leva particularly called on Governor Alia to improve on the security situation of the state to enable people and even the travellers go to places of their choice without been victims of kidnappers.

When contacted, the Benue State command police public relations officer SP Catherine Anene, confirmed the incident, saying investigation is ongoing. 

However, the special adviser to governor Alia on internal security, Chief Joseph Har also confirmed the abduction of the rector.

According to him, the Acting Rector was kidnapped three days ago.

He said he was not aware of any ransom negotiation, but that security personnel have been in the bush since then combing the bushes.

Continue Reading

Read Our ePaper

Top Stories

Health2 hours ago

NCDC Unveils Integrated Disease Testing, Surveillance Laboratory in Lagos

Share The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has unveiled an Integrated Disease Testing and Surveillance Laboratory for Malaria, Neglected Tropical...

NEWS2 hours ago

Constitutional Amendment Crucial for Efficient Implementation of LG Autonomy – Lawyer

Share An Umuahia-based Legal Practitioner, Mr Chuwkuemeka Nwachukwu, has said that the 1999 Constitution must be amended to allow for...

Foreign News3 hours ago

ECOWAS Court Nullifies ECOWAS Commission Staff’s Dismissal

ShareThe ECOWAS Court of Justice has nullified the dismissal of Mr Momodu Cham, a former staff of the Commission, saying...

NEWS3 hours ago

Gunmen Abducts Acting Rector Benue Polytechnic, Demand N70m Ransom 

ShareFrom Attah Ede Makurdi  Acting Rector, Benue State Polytechnic Ugbokolo, Engr. Dr. Emmanuel Barki has been abducted by gunmen suspected...

NEWS3 hours ago

FG Approves $21m Contract for Metering 187 Flow Stations to Curb Oil Theft

Share The Federal Government has approved a $21 million dollars contract for the construction of a metering system for 187...

NEWS3 hours ago

Okeke Congratulates Enugu Governor Over Excellence Awards 

ShareBy David Torough, Abuja  A legal practitioner, Barrister Henry Okeke has congratulated the Enugu State Governor, Dr Peter Mbah, on...

NEWS4 hours ago

NAFDAC Raids Market, Confiscates Alcoholic Beverages in Sachet, Pet Bottles

Share The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday confiscated alcoholic beverages packaged in sachets...

JUDICIARY4 hours ago

S/Court Judgment, New Dawn for Grassroots Devt – Northern Elders

ShareThe Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed satisfaction with the recent Supreme Court judgment that granted financial autonomy to the...

NEWS4 hours ago

FG pays Severance Package of 885 Disengaged Immigration Officers

Share The Federal Government has paid the severance benefits of 885 Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) officers disengaged from service in...

NEWS4 hours ago

School Building Collapse: Plateau Govt. Confirms 22 Dead, 132 Injured

Share The Plateau State Government has confirmed 22 deaths and 132 injured persons, from the Jos collapsed school building. Mr...

Copyright © 2021 Daily Asset Limited | Powered by ObajeSoft Inc