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Man loses N40 million as fire outbreak sacks Abakaliki rice millers

Ahead of the Christmas celebrations, fire outbreak yesterday sacked occupant of the Abakaliki rice mill located at Onuebonyi in the Ebonyi State capital, destroying valuable materials worth over N100 million.

The cause of the fire outbreak is yet to be ascertained as at press time, although residents of the area said the fire incident may have been caused by power surge and described the damage caused by the unfortunate incident as devastating.

The Chairman of Abakaliki Rice Mill Ltd, Hon. Joseph Nnunu told newsmen that the fire started at about 9pm on Thursday, and attracted the attention of the leadership of the mill who were still in the office when the inferno started.

He said they immediately contacted men of the Ebonyi State Fire Service, who rushed to the place, and were able to put off the fire, adding that some of the valuables that were salvaged was as a result of his quick intervention and prompt response of the fire fighters.

The Chairman described the fire incident as mysterious, stating that the fire started from the rear of the building and took over the whole structure before security men on duty noticed it and quickly alerted the authorities.

“When I visited the scene, I saw about five black stone Rice Milling machines… bags of par boiled rice and the whole roof and interior of the building completely razed,” he stated.

A victim, who owns the shop located at 13 A Line, Mr Moses Oboh lamented the ordeal and called on the government to come to his aid.

He said he may not stand the shock and the trauma of losing up to N40 million at a blow.

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Agriculture

We Produce 90% Of The Rice We Eat, Says Nigeria’s Minister Of Agriculture



Audu Ogbeh, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, says 90 per cent of the rice consumed in the country is produced locally.

Ogbeh revealed this on Tuesday at the 2019 Annual Research Review and Planning meeting, which held at the Balarabe Tanimu Conference Hall at the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria, Kaduna State.

Ogbeh, who was represented by Karima Babangida, the Director of Extension Services in the ministry, said this was achievable to local producers because of the backing they received from present administration, noting that the country is shifting “to eating what we grow, rather than eating imported food’’.

He said: “One very good example that we see today is the home-grown Nigerian rice. Hitherto, Nigeria has been a major and largest importer of rice from Thailand and this implies largest importer in the world.

“But today, we have been able to achieve a paradigm shift in the right direction and we are now producing 90 per cent of the rice we eat in the country, I think we should appreciate our farmers here.

“Nigeria does not only have the capacity to feed itself, it also becomes a major actor in agricultural exports to other African countries, Europe and American countries, including the Far East, especially China.”

He said other sectors of the agriculture economy are witnessing the same trend and that with joint efforts of stakeholders, the country can achieve balance of trade in food items.

He pointed out the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to continue to develop the great potential in the country.

Ibrahim Garba, Chairman of the occasion and the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, noted that the future of the Nigerian economy lay on the shoulders of agriculture.

Garba, who was represented by Prof. Ezra Bako-Amans, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), said: “Nigeria has all it takes to lead the African trans-border trade in food and fibre. It can cut its global share too in a number of crops it has comparative advantages in their production.

“The world’s cotton economy for instance, is about 1 trillion dollars. Needless to say, that cotton used to be one of the most important fibre crops in Nigeria, but down the line, we lost relevance on this crop.

“With the current renewed focus on agriculture, this glory can be reclaimed and Nigeria can have her fair share in the global cotton industry.”

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Agriculture

How 45-year-old herdsman killed farmer

An Osogbo Chief Magistrates’ Court in Osun on Tuesday remanded a 45-year-old herdsman, Abubakar Bello, in Ilesa Prison, over alleged murder of a farmer, Zachariah Oyebamiji.

The Prosecutor, Insp Elisha Olusegun, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on March 13, at 12.30 p.m., at Ila-Orangun, Osun

Bello is facing a two-count charge of murder.

Olusegun said that the accused conspired with others at large and killed Oyebamiji, on his farm.

He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 324 and 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 vol. 11, Laws of Osun, 2002.

The plea of the defendant was not taken by the court.

In the ruling, Magistrate Mary Awodele, ordered that the defendant be kept behind bars in Ilesa, pending legal advice from the Office of the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Awodele adjourned the case until May 20, for mention., NAN reports.

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Agriculture

Nigerian Newspapers: 10 things you need to know this Thursday morning

Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers.

1. An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, on Wednesday sentenced Seidu Shakiru-Adeyemi to death by hanging for gruesomely killing his girlfriend, Khadijat Oluboyo, daughter of former deputy governor of the state, Lasisi Oluboyo.

Adeyemi was charged for killing his girlfriend, Khadijat, on July 2, 2018, and burying her inside his room at Aratusi, Oke-Aro area of Akure.

2, Three more presidential candidates have separately approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja, demanding that it voids the result of the February 23 presidential election.

In their various petitions, the three presidential candidates, of the Hope Democratic Party, HDP, Chief Ambrose Owuru; Peoples Democratic Movement, PDM, Aminchi Habu and Coalition for Change, C4C, Geff Chizee Ojinka, urged the tribunal to invoke its powers and quash the declaration of President Buhari as the bonafide winner of the 2019 presidential election.

3. Barring last minute changes, the 9th National Assembly may not go for proper parliamentary election to choose its leaders.

This position followed the declaration by the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Wednesday, wherein it said there may be no voting, but consensus on that day to elect the leaders of the two chambers of the 9th National Assembly.

4. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has promised that the 2019 budget will be passed when plenary resumes on Tuesday, April 2.

He, however, made it clear that the National Assembly would not rubber stamp the N8.83trn 2019 budget saying, “We hope to pass the appropriation bill as soon as we reconvene plenary”

5. A coalition of 42 registered political parties in Kano State, under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), have expressed support for the re-election of Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje at the just concluded governorship election.

The CUPP chairman in the state, Alhaji Nuhu Isah, who paid a congratulatory visit to the governor, expressed dismay over a purported news conference held in Kano where it was reported that the coalition condemned the entire process due to alleged electoral irregularities.

6. Gunmen, on Wednesday attacked Suleiman Abubakar, Chairman of Correspondents’ chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Nasarawa state and abducted his wife, Yahanasu Abubakar.

Suleiman told newsmen that the incident happened at about 7 p.m. along Gudi-Garaku road in Akwanga Local Government Area of the state.

7. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Wednesday, in a Federal High Court, opened its case in the trial of a former Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Tuoyo Omatsuli, over alleged N3.6 billion fraud.

The anti-graft agency on Nov. 8, 2018, arraigned Omatsuli alongside Don Parker Properties Ltd., Francis Momoh, and Building Associates Ltd. before Justice Saliu Saidu on a 45-count charge bordering on the alleged offence.

8. The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, on Wednesday said the Federal Government shared N619.85 billion, as revenue generated in February to the three tiers of government.

The amount showed an increase of about N9.49 billion from what was shared in January.

9. The Founder of Daar Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, on Wednesday said he was invited by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on issues related to his International Passport.

Dokpesi told newsmen at the gate of the Immigration Head office in Abuja, shortly after an interrogation that lasted for about two hours, that the service wanted him to leave his passport with them.

10. Ahead of the Thursday supplementary poll, the Adamawa State chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has urged its supporters to turn out massively for the poll.

The state PDP Chairman, Mr Tahir Shehu, alleged that the state government, led by the All Progressives Congress (APC), was planning to import thugs from Kaduna and Kano states to cause mayhem and manipulate the process to ensure victory for the APC candidate.

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