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World Food Day: FG says closure of borders remain



World Food Day: FG says closure of borders remain

…As NCS boss says All goods through land borders remain banned***

The Federal Government says it will not reverse closure of borders until neighbouring countries have shown enough commitment to check smuggling of banned commodities into Nigeria.

The Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Mohammed Umar, said this on Monday during a walk as part of activities to mark World Food Day on Oct 16.

He said the closure was also a response  to farmers’ call as necessary measure to boost food production, especially rice production and other food items, saying they had pleaded that it remained so.

According to him, the farmers have attested to the fact that the development is yielding result, adding that the ministry had since the closure received many applications from people indicating interest in farming.

Umar said following the several requests the federal government would start clearing of land across the country to allocate to farmers for agricultural growth.

“I assure you this message is noted and the borders have not been opened. There are so many applications from farmers for the ministry to clear land for them for agricultural activities.

“Your request will be met because the ministry is ready to embark on land clearing between now and next year at community level, local government level and state level, that require our support.

“We will be there to open up land for agricultural activities.

“Our rice association here have been hailing Mr President and they (members) promised government that they will double their production and that there is no need for importation of rice because we have attained food sufficiency in rice production and other products.

“That is why Nigeria had to key in to this day to celebrate along with about 160 countries currently celebrated at UN in New York,” he said.

The PS said the government was ready to assist farmers to go into mechanisation, adding that government had been assisting farmers with tractors, various farm equipment and other farm inputs to boost production of food in Nigeria.

He said the sensitisation work which was part of activities to mark the World Food Day was to reiterate the importance of food to humanity.

He commended the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for its support to help reposition agriculture in the country.

The permanent secretary further commended efforts of farmer associations from different states to support the event.

He said “the food day is one of the most celebrated days around the globe. About 160 countries are currently celebrating this day and Nigeria cannot be an exception.

“Agriculture is one of the cardinal objective of this administration to achieve zero hunger in Nigeria.

“This day is the day we must all appreciate because we have heard from the farmers associations, groups and our developmental partners who have been here with us since morning.

“All they are telling me is Nigeria has taken a very brave step by closing Nigeria’s border because they do not want importation of food and that they are ready to produce all Nigeria requires in terms of food and raw materials in terms of agribusiness.”

Mr Suffyan Koroma, FAO Representative in Nigeria, said the focus of the 2019 world food day was on ensuring that people ate healthy.

According to him, it is time to reflect on “what we eat, how we eat it and where we get it from”.

He said World Food Day, celebrated on Oct. 16 each year, was one of the widest UN celebrations because it is celebrated in more than 150 countries.

“It is a day to come together to celebrate the founding of Food and Agriculture Organisation and to reaffirm our commitment to zero hunger.

“This year’s theme for World Food Day, is “Our Actions are our Future. Healthy Diets for A #ZeroHunger.”

“So, it is a day for us to reflect not only on what we eat, how we eat it and where we get it from.”

Koroma assured of the organisation’s continued commitment to improved agriculture in Nigeria.

Mr Manir Umar, President, Association of Nigeria Agricultural Entrepreneurs, commended the federal government for empowering the youth through the ministry of agriculture.

He said the ministry had empowered them through training, provision of start up funds and technical support to go into agriculture, saying agribusinesses set up by participants of the initiatives had grown over time.

He said, “today I can confidently tell you that this association has empowered other young Nigerians just the way we were empowered by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

“We formed an association and we have businesses we are running together. We have dairy programme that we are running in Jere, Kaduna State.

“We were supported by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture with milk processing equipment and we are collecting milk right now and we are processing it and selling it.

“We also have tractors that we benefitted from the federal ministry of agriculture we are also using to support other Nigerian farmers with our farm implement and mechanisation services, “he said.

He urged the ministry to sustain the youth programme in view of its impact on the youth.

In the meantime, the Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), retired Col Hameed Ali, says all goods through land borders remain banned with the recent partial border closure announced by Federal Government.

Ali made this known at a joint news conference with his counterpart from Nigeria Immigration Service, Mr Mohammed Babandede, in Abuja on Monday.

He explained that the exercise banned all goods irrespective of the items, whether such goods were contraband or not.

Also read:  Border Closure: Nigerians groan as prices of staple food items skyrocket by 65%

Ali said for now, only goods passing through the controlled borders such as air and sea would gain entry into the country.

According to him, there is no time limit to end the partial closure of the nation’s borders.

Ali added that the exercise would be sustained until the neighbouring countries duly comply with the ECOWAS protocols on transit of goods.

The NCS boss said that diplomatic engagement was ongoing to ensure the cooperation of the neighbouring countries.

Following this development, Niger Republic had just announced the ban on all forms of exportation of rice into Nigeria, the customs boss added.

Ali said the inter-agency cooperation had helped to achieve the success so far recorded in the exercise.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the joint border security exercise, code-named “Exercise Swift Response”, began on Aug. 20.

It was set up to ensure a better security of the country’s territorial integrity, particularly the land and maritime borders, against trans-border security concerns.

The exercise is being coordinated by Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in the four geo-political zones of North-West, North-Central, South-West and South-South.




Ramadan: Transportation Minister calls for self-reflection, prayer for Nigeria



Ramadan: Transportation Minister calls for self-reflection, prayer for Nigeria

… As Bauchi auto crash claims 25 lives, injures 10 others***

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo has advised Nigerian Muslims to engage in self-reflection and prayers for the country during Ramadan.

This was made known in a statement issued by Henshaw Ogubike, the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry on Friday in Abuja.

In his Ramadan message, Sambo extended warm wishes to Islamic faithfuls and prayed to Almighty Allah to shower them with love, peace, prosperity and joy.

The minister urged Muslims to deepen their devotion and show brotherly love to everyone around, particularly the less privileged, during the holy month.

“Let us therefore in this holy month deepen our devotion, extend our bond of fellowship and compassion to everyone around, particularly the less privileged in our communities,” he said.

The minister also prayed for the security of all Nigerians and prosperity for the country.

“May the Almighty Allah ease our adversity; shower us with love, peace, prosperity and joy. May we be free from harm, and our nation be blessed and prosperous,” he said.

Tragedy struck on Thursday in Udobo village in Gamawa Local Government Area of Bauchi State when 25 people lost their lives in a lone auto crash.

Sector Commander of the FRSC in Bauchi State, Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi, told the press in Bauchi on Friday that 10 other persons sustained injuries in the crash.

He said the accident involved one Toyota Hummer bus in which the over-speeding driver lost control after a tyre burst.

“Thirty-five persons were involved in the road crash.

“Twenty-five of them – nine adult male, 11 adult females, two male children and three female children – lost their lives on the spot.

“Ten others sustained serious injuries and they are all male adults,’’ he said.

He added that the injured were taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Azare in Katagum Local Government Area of the state, while corpses of the deceased were taken to Hadeja in Jigawa for burial.

Abdullahi charged motorists to always be conscious of traffic rules and regulations while plying the roads. 

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AfDB, BCI promote women’s access to finance in Africa with $485,000



AfDB, BCI promote women’s access to finance in Africa with $485,000

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Bank for Trade and Industry (BCI) of Mauritania have signed a 485,000 dollars agreement for Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).

The bank in a statement said that the programme was aimed at promoting women’s access to finance in Africa.

“The Promoting Access of Women-Owned Enterprises to Financial and Technical Support Services in the Western Sahel Region project is financed by AfDB with support from Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi).

“The project aims to strengthen BCI’s financing capacity for trade and industry and to better support women small and medium enterprises in Mauritania, Mali, Senegal and Guinea,’’ it said.

It said that Mohamed El -Azizi, AfDB’s Director-General for North Africa and Isselmou Tajidine, Managing Director of BCI’s Trade and Industry Group, signed the agreement.

It said that the agreement was signed on the sidelines of the Mauritania Investment Forum.

The forum with the theme, “Invest Days-Nouakchott’’, was organised by the Mauritania Investment Promotion Agency.

AfDB’s director-general for North Africa said: “The signing of this technical assistance agreement with the BCI Group is an important step in supporting financial inclusion and growth of women-led SMEs.

“This plays a crucial role in Mauritania’s economic development.

“The agreement consolidates a 10 million euro line of credit, approved by AfDB’s board of directors to BCI in 2021, to support growth and trade of strategic small businesses of women entrepreneurs.’’

BCI’s managing director said that the project reinforced the bank’s strategic partnership with AfDB and would position the bank as the choice for women entrepreneurs in Mauritania, Senegal, Mali and Guinea.

Tajidine added that it would help to expand the bank’s offering of financial products and technical support for women-led businesses.

AFAWA and the Mauritania Investment Promotion Agency organised a workshop on strengthening financial inclusion of women’s SMEs in Mauritania during the Invest Days-Nouakchott Forum.

The session presented the mechanisms of the initiative, including the “Guarantee for Growth” programme implemented by the African Guarantee Fund.

It also provided an opportunity to discuss the regulatory framework and steps that authorities and businesses can take to improve financial access for women’s businesses.

The forum also featured the inauguration of the AFAWA ambassadors programme which will advocate accelerated access to finance for Africa’s women entrepreneurs and showcase women leaders.

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Cooking gas price increased by 24.05% in one year – NBS  



Cooking gas price increased by 24.05% in one year – NBS  

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), says the average price of 5kg of cooking gas increased from N3,708.58 in February 2022 to N4,600.57 in February 2023.

This is contained in the Bureau’s “Cooking Gas Price Watch’’ for February 2023 released on Friday in Abuja.

The report said the February price represented a 24.05 per cent increase compared to what was obtained in February 2022.

The report said on a month-on-month basis, the price rose by 0.26 per cent from N4,588.75 recorded in January 2023 to N4,600.57 in February 2023.

On state profile analysis, the report showed that Kwara recorded the highest average price of N4,962.86 for refilling a 5kg cooking gas, followed by Adamawa at N4,914.00, and Niger at N4,907.50.

It said on the other hand, Enugu recorded the lowest price at N4,179.41, followed by Rivers and Abia at N4,204.44 and N4,220.00.

Analysis by zone showed that the North-Central recorded the highest average retail price of N4,845.44 for 5kg cooking gas, followed by the North-West at N4,629.19.

“The South-East recorded the lowest average price at N4,428.97 for 5kg cooking gas.’’

The NBS also said the average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cooking gas declined by 0.23 percent on a month-on-month basis from N10,277.17 in January 2023 to N10,253.39 in February 2023.

“On a year-on-year basis, this rose by 37.67 percent from N7,447.79 in February 2022.’’

State profile analysis showed that Akwa Ibom recorded the highest average retail price of N10,879.50 for 12.5kg cooking gas followed by Cross River at N10,803.57 and Anambra at N10,768.75.

On the other hand, the report showed that the lowest average price for 12.5kg of cooking gas was recorded in Yobe at N9,580.00, followed by Gombe and Borno at N9,766.67 and N9,857.14, respectively.

Analysis by zone showed that the South-South recorded the highest average retail price for refilling a 12.5kg cooking gas at N10,590.18, followed by the South-East at N10,478.54.

“The North-East recorded the lowest price at N9,801.46.’’

Similarly, the average retail price per litre of kerosene rose to N1,173.89 in February 2023 on a month-on-month basis, showing an increase of 1.78 per cent compared to N1,153.40 recorded in January 2023.

According to its National Kerosene Price Watch for February 2023, on a year-on-year basis, the average retail price per litre of kerosene rose by 160.48 per cent from N450.66 in February 2022 to N1,173.89 in February 2023.

Analysis by the state showed that the highest average retail price per litre of kerosene was recorded in Plateau at N1,550.00, followed by Abuja at N1,473.33 and Adamawa at N1,438.10.

“On the other hand, the lowest price was recorded in Nassarawa at N923.81, followed by Katsina at N945.83 and Sokoto at N956.94.’’

The NBS said that analysis by zones showed that the South-West recorded the highest average retail price of Kerosene at N1,259.96 per litre, followed by the South-East at N1,255.12, while the North-West recorded the lowest at N976.24.’’

The report showed that the average price of a gallon of kerosene was sold at N3,926.23 in February 2023, indicating an increase of 1.03 percent from N3,886.11 in January 2023.

“On a year-on-year basis, this increased by 151.72 percent from N1,559.78 in February 2022.’’

State profile analysis showed that Kwara recorded the highest average retail price per gallon of kerosene at N4,905.83, followed by Ebonyi at N4,606.25 and Anambra at N4,550.00.

It said Borno and Gombe recorded the lowest price at N3,050.00, followed by Bayelsa and Delta at N3,071.43 and N3,116.67, respectively.

Analysis by zone indicated that the South-East recorded the highest average retail price per gallon of kerosene at N4,517.60, followed by the North Central at N4,107.59, while the South-South recorded the lowest at N3,474.47.

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