Not less than 30 million dollars is being lost annually to cowpea pests across the country in the past ten years.
The revelation was made by Professor of Entomology and Crop Science in the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Ndowa Lale at the 68th Inaugural Lecture of the institution.
Aside cowpea, the university don also revealed that 10 percent of the annual production of millet estimated at over four million dollars was lost as a result of the activity of store product pests.
The pest expert averred that their losses are responsible for the huge food deficit in the country on annual basis.
“Now with increased production only God knows how much we are going to lose more,” he said.
Prof. Lale said there was urgent need for the country to evolve strategies capable of combating these pests in order to ensure food security in the country.
He lamented that despite the presence of special institutions like the Nigerian Stored Products Research Institute (NSPRI) pests have continued to deplete the country’s food resources and therefore solicited for more research.
Prof. Lale said the menace of pests would continue if the current poor funding suffered by the agriculture sector would continue.
“In Rivers State, this year’s budget is as low as N2 billion, I think that is a huge joke and displays the level of unseriousness with which we treat agriculture.”
Prof Lale submitted that the dream of having food security would continue to be a mirage, while calling on the government to revive Agriculture Development Programme (ADP) for efficiency.
Traditional Ruler Empowers Widows, Others In Elele
A traditional ruler, Eze Okechukwu Okah, Eze Ali Omokpirikwu of Elele, in Ikwerre Local Government, Rivers State, has empowered widows, women and chiefs in his community.
Eze Okah, gave out five milion, five hundred thousand naira to over 5000 persons for empowerment.
The annual empowerment programme was held at the weekend in Elele, in his palace. The aim was to assist women and chiefs to cultivate their farms.
Speaking at the ceremony, the traditional ruler said the major aim of the empowerment was to make feeding in various homes easy.
”This annual empowerment programme was to enable our mothers return to their farms. It is the only way I can assist them feed their homes and society at large.
For now, this is what I can do to assist our precious mothers, widows and the less privileged in the society”, Eze Okah said.
He further promised to build a befitting market for Omokpirikwu women, as to improve the economic activities of the area.
“The market, if built would end transporting goods to other neighbouring communities for sale.
Consequently, I dedicate this empowerment programme to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, because he is the pride of the state.
Governor Wike’s massive infrastructural and human capital development in the state deserves commendation”, he stated.
He used the forum to call on the governor to contest 2023 presidential race, saying that he has the capacity and support.
Earlier, an 89 year old woman, Edith Amadi, one of the beneficiaries expressed joy with tears, thanking Eze Okay for his benevolence, adding that since she lost her husband life have been so difficult.
The women leader of Ali Mama Omokpirikwu Chapter, Mrs Dorathy Ogbonna, Ezenne Justin Kinika, 79, and other beneficiaries’ thanked Eze Okah for the empowerment.
Why Ogoni Should Be Supported For Governor -VON
A politico-social group christened Vanguards of Ogoni Nation (VON), has canvassed for an Ogoni to be governor in 2023.
Chairman of the group, Favour Reuben, in a live radio programme monitored by The Tide in Port Harcourt said, Ogonis have potentials to lead the state.
He solicited for other ethnic groups to join in the quest for an Ogoni governor, noting that they cannot do it alone without support of other parts of the state.
In his words:” We are consulting and reaching out to other groups and we believe the Ogonis should be given a chance.”
Reuben dismissed the claim of riverine and upland dichotomy in the state guber race, stressing that current political developments have overtaken such position over the years.
Reuben, who is former chairman of Labour Party, also hinted that his party is ready to field any candidate from Ogoni in the party.
The former labour party chairman in the state urged all Ogonis to jettison their differences and ensure that they produced the governor in 2023.
He counselled against all forms of divisiveness and violence, emphasising the need for unity, compromise and sense of nationality among the Ogonis as a way of clinching the guber seat in next year.
By: Kevin Nengia
Soberekon Calls For Six Vice Presidential Slots For Nigeria
An elder statesman in Niger Delta, Rev Sokari Soberekon, has called for a provision for six vice presidential slog for the country. This is as he called for the restructuring of Nigeria before the 2023 general election.
In a memo titled “proposal for the restructuring of Nigeria for peace and stability, sustainability, rapid development and good governance”, made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, the cleric said the political zones have been grossly neglected for years especially the villages that produce the resources that have sustained the country for 65 years, hence, the six vice presidential positions if put in place, would serve the interest of the autonomous geopolitical zones of the country.
Soberekon maintained that only restructuring will correct injustice and encourage healthy competition among the zones for rapid development since all the zones have resources that can be developed for growth and development.
Each of the six geopolitical zones include; south east, south west, south-south, north-east, north-central and north-west zones, he said, ”is naturally endowed with wonderful mineral resources that need be tapped and developed for rapid economic growth and development”
Soberekon in the same memo, warned against heeding to calls for the division of the country instead, he sued for “staying together as one indivisible entity”, as the best option for Nigeria, via restructuring.
Meanwhile, Soberekon has also called for the establishment of a petroleum and gas university in Oloibiri, Bayelsa State, as he invites President Mohammadu Buhari and other world leaders to visit Oloibiri to see the level of underdevelopment in the place.
Regretting the absence of a federal presence in the community, he said nothing less than the establishment of a petroleum and gas university would serve enough compensation to a people and land where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantity in Nigeria.
By: Kalu Emmanuel
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