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Nigeria now feeding the world – Osinbajo claims in Germany

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Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo has claimed that Nigeria is now the food basket of the world.

Speaking at the Nigerian-German Investment Dialogue in Berlin, Germany, Osinbajo said Nigeria is a leading investment destination for potential and serious investors.

According to him, “He said consumer spending in Africa was $1.4 trillion by 2015, with Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa accounting for more than half of that total,” Osinbajo said.

“There is also increasing economic opportunities in Nigeria because of deliberate actions by our government to diversify the economy and improve the business environment.

“It is encouraging that there are significant economic ties between Nigeria and Germany. Germany is a significant exporter to Nigeria, which is its second largest trading partner in Africa.

“Recent reports show that German investment in Nigeria contributes as much as $1 billion in turnover annually. This is good, but we must agree that there is scope for even deeper collaboration given that Nigeria’s GDP is close to $500bn.”

“Today we produce locally 10 million metric tonnes of paddy rice annually. And we are importing only two percent of our rice consumption now,” Osinbajo said.

“Investments in milling capacity has risen astronomically since then, with one investor putting a million tonnes of milling capacity into the market.

“Carlos Farms, a Mexican fruit and vegetable investor, had initially planned to grow bananas and pineapples for export; until he discovered that he was making more money selling his bananas locally at $3 dollars a kilogramme, for what he would have been paid only a dollar per kg in Europe.

“With a substantial percentage of the world’s arable land and over half of that uncultivated, it is becoming clearer that the world will be looking to Africa, and Nigeria in particular, as its food basket.

“Just to take China’s demand alone, China has 27% of the world’s population, but only 7% of the world’s arable land for agriculture. China needs 2 million tonnes of hybrid Soya beans per annum for livestock feed and vegetable oil. But we have not met that demand.”

“We are also diversifying within oil, while adding that Nigeria is already exporting urea since it is producing more than enough for its domestic needs and in the very near future.

“In the service sector, about 1.8 million international travellers spend two nights on average at Nigeria’s estimated 10,000 hotel rooms yearly.

“This generated about US$210 million in revenue for the industry in 2017, which barely reflects on Nigeria’s US$500 billion GDP size.

“Nigeria’s hotel industry alone is projected to grow by double digits by 2020, as the sector bounces back post-recession to one of the fastest growing in the world, and the possibilities for investors is significant.”

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Agriculture

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

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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Bauchi Gov-elect To Stand Trial Over False Declaration Of Assets

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Bala Mohammed, Governor-elect of Bauchi State, is set to face a fresh six-count charge bordering on alleged failure to declare his assets and false information.

Bala will be arraigned on Monday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Mohammed, who contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was declared the winner of the 2019 Bauchi State governorship election after defeating Mohammed Abubakar, the incumbent Governor of the state, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

According to information sent by the court registrar to Chile Okoroma, the EFCC Director of Legal Services and Prosecution, Mohammed will be arraigned in Court 26 at the FCT High Court, Maitama in Abuja.

The charge read in part: “That you Bala A. Mohammed on or about October 24, 2016 at the head office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in Abuja within the judicial division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory made a false statement to the detective, Ishaya Dauda, investigating officer with the Economic Governance Section of the EFCC, Abuja to wit: that you acquired house situated at No. 2599 and 2600, Cadastal Zone AO4 Asokoro District Abuja through a mortgage facility from Aso Savings & Loan Bank Plc and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 09 (2) (a) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004 and punishable under Section 39(2)(b) of the same Act.”

In a recent interview with Punch newspaper, Mohammed had said his trial by the EFCC was “completely politically-motivated”.

He continued: “But I believe in justice and that was why I went to the court of justice. Definitely! I have been under probe by the EFCC and because I believe in accountability and was influential in the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, I chose not to run away.

“I will stand and answer all questions. I have passed the first battle by winning my case against the Federal Government on human rights, for arbitrarily imprisoning me and then calling me names. Of course, N5m has been awarded in my favour and the next one is the other spurious charges against me. I believe in justice and equity.

“And if the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has discovered some documents which shows that over 2,000 ghost workers have been inputted into the salaries and arrears of Bauchi State in the last four years and over N400bn has come to Bauchi and we cannot see anything that has been done for N5bn, if I don’t do it (probe him), then I have abdicated my responsibility.”

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