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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

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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Agriculture

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

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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

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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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