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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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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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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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