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EFCC Arrests Nigerian Farmers For Stealing Fertilizers Worth N5.4 Million

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested leaders of Gummi Local Government chapter of Rice Farmers’ Association of Nigeria, in Zamfara State over alleged diversion N5.4 million worth of fertilizers.

The arrested suspects include Ibrahim Rijiya, the chairman of the association; Aminu Musa, the council storekeeper; and one Abdullahi Bashir.

Tony Orilade, the acting spokesman for the commission said this in a statement released on Wednesday.

The commission arrested the suspects following a petition by some rice farmers.

They were said to have criminally diverted three trailers of 1,800 bags of fertilizers, and a truck-load of herbicides meant for rice farmers in Gummi.

Rijiya, who is also the District Head of Rijiya Gummi, Gummi LGA, was said to have sold each bag for N3,000 including other farm materials, according to a Punch Newspaper report.

Representatives of seven different groups of rice farmers had alleged that sometimes in July 2018, the federal government approved and disbursed 12 trucks of fertilizers and herbicides on loan to 83 cooperative societies in Gummi, adding that no member of the association received the items as approved by the government.

Also, efforts by the Gummi chapter of RIFAN to get the items back reportedly proved abortive.

EFCC investigations, however, revealed that Rijiya conspired with Musa to divert and sell the fertilizers and herbicides to Bashir for N17.1million which they shared among themselves.

“The suspects confessed to their roles in the crime while the three trailers of the fertilizers have been recovered from them. Efforts are in top gear to recover the diverted herbicides. They will soon be arraigned in court,” the statement said.

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Agriculture

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

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Good Morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers

1. Several persons were reported dead and many others injured in a clash that ensued between supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ogbolomabiri community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State during a governorship rally organised by the ruling party.

The attackers, it was also learnt, opened fire on the protocol bus of the Bayelsa State Government House along the junction between Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri communities.

2. The Executive Council of the Edo State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has ratified the suspension of the National Chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, from the party in the state.

The decision was reached at an enlarged meeting of the council and other party chieftains with the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, in Benin City, on Wednesday. At the meeting, the leaders said the suspension of Comrade Oshiomhole became necessary because the national chairman has been deploying divisive tactics to cause disharmony in the party in collaboration with the proscribed group, Edo Peoples Movement (EPM).

3. The Department of State Services (DSS) has explained why it is yet to release Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement.

The Service in a statement by its spokesman, Peter Afunanya, reiterated its avowed readiness to release Sowore once the processes are concluded, adding that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of Sowore.

4. The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on Wednesday affirmed the victory of Governor Udom Emmanuel of the PDP in the March 9 gubernatorial elections in Akwa Ibom State. The Appeal was filed against the judgement of the tribunal delivered on September 5, 2019 at Uyo, which dismissed Mr Ekere’s petition for wanting in merit. Delivering judgement in the Appeal filed by Mr Nsima Ekere, the Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) challenging the re-election of His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in the March 9, 2019 Gubernatorial Elections, the five-man panel gave her judgement on all the issues set out by parties in the appeal.

5. The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9th 2019 gubernatorial election in Oyo State, Mr. Adebayo Adelabu, has declared that he is approaching the Supreme Court in order to validate his victory at the poll.

Adelabu in a statement he personally signed on Wednesday, alleged that some agents of darkness perfected the plan to steal his mandate, this according to him, necessitated his resolve to approach the judiciary to reclaim his mandate.

6. The Senate on Wednesday approved the refund of N10.069 billion to Kogi State government ahead of governorship election slated for Saturday.

The approval followed a report by the Senate Committee Chairman on Local debts and Foreign Loans, Senator Clifford Akhimienmona Ordia.

7. The Court of Appeal sitting in Makurdi on Wednesday affirmed the election of the Speaker of Benue State Assembly, Titus Uba, representing Kyan state constituency.

Justice E. J. Ekanem, in his lead panel judgment held that the appeal brought against the speaker by the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Gwaza Ujamatyu, lacked merit.

8. The House of Representatives has urged the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to extend the use of compulsory National Identification Number (NIN) in the conduct of examinations till 2021.

This followed a motion moved by Rep. Zainab Gimba (APC-Borno) under Matters of Urgent Public Importance at plenary presided over by the Speaker of the House, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila on Wednesday. The House said the extension would allow more time to better sensitise prospective candidates to the NIN.

9. An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced to death, three men who kidnapped a Lagos monarch and killed his palace guard.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced Duba Fureso, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh, who kidnapped the Oniba of Iba, Oba Oseni Goriola, murdered his 72-year-old palace guard, Mr Sunday Okanlawon, and attempted to murder the monarch’s wife, Bosede.

10. Nigeria began their quest to be at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, with a narrow 2-1 win over Benin Republic on Wednesday.

The Super Eagles had to fight from a goal down, as the Squirrels opened scoring at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

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Health, education get low allocations as Buhari presents 2020 budget before National Assembly

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday presented the year 2020 budget estimates to a joint session of the National Assembly.

Buhari, who arrived the National Assembly chambers at about 2 p.m., presented the budget to lawmakers under atmosphere free of rancour unlike last year.

Mr. President during the declaration said that N125 billion was allocated to the National Assembly while N110 billion was allocated to the Judiciary.

For allocations to ministries, the president affirmed the following allocations to respective ministries.

Works and Housing – N262 billion

Transportation – N123 billion

UBEC – N112 billion

Defence – N100 billion

Agriculture – N83 billion

Water Resources – N82 billion

Education – N48 billion

Health – N46 billion

North East Dec Commission – N38 billion

SIPs – N30 billion

FCT – N28 billion

Niger Delta – N24 billion

However, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan in his speech charged all government ministries, departments and agencies to defend their proposals before lawmakers before the end of October.

He also said the lawmakers should ensure the budget got passed before the end of the year.

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Insecurity: Yobe Fruit Sellers Lament Market Closure

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Fruit farmers and sellers in Mamudo town of Yobe say they are incurring heavy losses as a result of poor patronage caused by closure of some markets in the state and neighbouring Borno.

Mamudo town is known for its large scale production of fruits, particularly mangoes, cashew and guava, in addition to vegetables.

Some of them, who narrated their ordeal to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Mamudo, said the last time they experienced such misfortune in business, was over 10 years ago, caused by natural disaster.

They said the major markets for their fruits were in Babangida, Gaidam, Gashua and Mainok towns, all of which no longer observe the weekly market days, for security reasons.

Babangida Alagos, who sells mangoes, said the situation was so bad that from last month to date, there were times they had to drop baskets of mangoes by the highway, almost begging motorists to stop and fetch whatever quantity they needed, free.

“This was particularly during the period of Ramadan fast; we were battling with baskets of mangoes and there were no buyers; after two to three days, the fruits get rotten and are thrown away.

“The losses were so painful that we felt giving the fruits to people for free will at least earn us some reward from God; at least we had the contentment that somebody consumed them, and they did not get wasted.

“That was how the idea of keeping the fruits on the major highways came up and the beneficiaries reciprocated with prayers for us to overcome the situation,” he narrated.

Alagos estimated that for the past two months, fruit farmers and sellers in the town lost no fewer than 2,000 baskets of fruits, particularly mangoes, each basket costing N2,500.

Another seller, Habu Maikano, narrated that at a particular point in time, supply had overwhelmed demand to the extent that they never had to climb trees in search of ripe mangoes to sell.

“Substantial quantity of the fruits got ripe while the previous ones had not been sold, such that all we did was just picking basket-full of mangoes that had fallen under the trees.

“Unlike previous years when youth that went to our orchards to pick mangoes were seen as ‘thieves’, there was no such ‘thief’ this year as we were begging people to pick and eat, so as to avoid waste,” he stated.

Also recounting his ordeal, Mohammed Sanusi said the frustration was such that he had decided to seek for an alternative means of livelihood, even if the situation improves.

“I know that marketing perishable food items can be risky, but with what happened this year, it is like I had under-estimated the magnitude of the risk.

“I have now resolved to change trade; I may deal in the new trade side-by- side with selling of fruits, or abandon the latter for good,” he remarked.

Other farmers and traders, namely Adamu Usman, Halliru Mohammed and Bello Mallum, narrated similar experiences, adding that one of the many solutions to their ordeal was to devise a reliable preservation technique.

They said the other solution was for the government or wealthy individuals and organizations, to establish fruit processing industries that would create market for their produce.

“When there is glut, we can have the fruits processed, preserved and sold out to people in times of scarcity; by doing so, employment opportunities are created, wastages averted, and fruit juices are made available and affordable,“ said Usman.

They therefore appealed to Yobe government and the business community, to invest in processing the abundant fruits wasting in the town almost every season.

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