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Science, Technology In Agricultural Development

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The role of science and technology in the quest for the best method of improving the yield  of crops, protecting crops against diseases and pest, making livestock  healthy all the time, designing the best method of crops storage  and even helping  in predicting the climate  conducive for agricultural practice  can not be over emphasised.

As we know, the use of agricultural  equipment and machineries help to making  farming  and other agricultural  practice easier for the farmer. In the advanced countries of Northern America and Western Europe, agricultural mechanisation is the order of the day. A lecturer in   American university could, in addition to his  leading job own and supervise a poultry complex of about 5,000 birds or more. In the same vein, two farmers  could supply the pork needed for a  town of 25,000 population. Farmer get attached to banks and get financed to large agricultural ventures. The farmers employ experts with agricultural  and management skills and exposures.

For those who venture into risky areas like poultry and piggery, efforts  are made to seek the services of pathologists to ensure that the health of these animals and birds are properly taken care of, proper insurance are taken to  ensure that where sudden mortality arise, the risk is spread. It is through science and research that better methods of improving the yield of crops are ensured.

Before  1989, local farmers had been used to harvest the local cassava species that were prevalent, only few farmers were used to improved cassava  varieties within that year but something sudden happened. Most of the local varieties were  no more doing well and thus  the mortality rate was high. Food became scarce and the price of a basin of garri rose to between N3,000.00 to N4,000.00 Garri  started  being sold at one cup for one naira. Many families could not afford it as some supplemented with corn flour, which was cheaper.

The only way out was  that  most farmers moved  to adopting the improve yield variety (IYV) and resistant variety. Luckily, Onuanwo was ready to assist the entire state and beyond as people from different parts of the state and  beyond moved to Onuanwo for tuber and stem.

Crop protection is very vital in agriculture. Disease affects plants and leads to delay in metabolic  activities, stunted growth, shedding of  flowers and fruits and sometimes the actual death of the plant. Cultural and chemical control are most of the time used. Culturally, crop rotation is adopted, burning remains after harvesting, regular weeding of the soil, proper spacing of crops using  of high yielding and resistant varieties and  practicing  of irrigation during  dry season are adopted.

 The use of chemical control is the result of research. Though  certain side effects are associated with certain chemicals, it still remains   that one of the most effective ways of reducing  pathogens,  fungicides are used  to controlled fungal diseases. These includes lime, cumin copper, Bordeaux mixture etc. Bacterial  diseases are control by certain antibiotics like cuprous axide (copper  oxide), certain dust from mercury, copper and sulphur. Since viral diseases are difficult  to  eradicate  certain insecticides they are used to control the insect vector transmitting the viral pathogens.

Also nematodes are controlled with infanticide like Nemagon, Vapan D-D and methyl bromide. We are fully aware that  without vehicles, engine  powered boats, aeroplane and other means of  transport like motor cycles, bicycles, wheel barrow and trucks, it will be difficult to transport raw materials  to the farm for planting or harvest  crops   from the place of production to the market  for sale.

Those mentioned of technical  means of transportation are very important in agriculture and without them, the production and evacuation of food will be very difficult. In advanced countries and few of the developing nations a eroplanes are used for spraying  particularly, when locust are seen to be devastating hundreds  of hectres of  farmland.

Good roads that  are tarred help in the evacuation of foodstuffs from the hinterland to the urban areas or others areas  where they are needed. The  use of different types of vehicles as were mentioned before  are catalysts  towards the realization of those lofty goals.

Science and research help in reducing  hand-wiping off animal disease which are inimical to proper animal production the world over. Some of these diseases and pests include foot and mouth disease, cattle  plague, newcastle  disease, mad cow  disease  (Ebola disease) tuberculosis, anthrax, bovine mastitis, fowl pox, cocotchiosis, aspergillusis, ringworm, tape worm, roundworm, tick etc.

With the advice of agricultural and veterinary  experts, the problem of farm animal will always be solved Large farm holdings even in Northern States of Nigeria have veterinary clinics that are well  stocked with drugs, vaccines, etc. building engineers develop farm building  like pens for livestock,  and pigs, silo, cribs  for storage  and even the construction of dams to supply water and  electricity to agricultural  establishments and the masses.

Even in Nigeria, the adoption of fertilizer  in our agricultural  system especially in the savannah and the Sahel area of the country has helped to boost yields. Right from the establishment  of NAFCON at Onne, the use of fertilizer had gained ground in this country.

Nigerian farmers particularly those in the  Northern states have utilised  the fertilizer  produced scientifically in Nigeria for the improvement of their agricultural inputs. Infact, modern farming can not perform well if the inputs of science and technology are not utilised.

Lastly, the Agricultural Development programme  (ADP), is research oriented. It is one of the duties to teach their staff the latest  research in  agriculture. These staff would pass on these to the local farmers practically, to boost food production after the floods.

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Opinion

Buhari And Fifth Columnists

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According to Wikipedia, a fifth columnist is “any group of people who undermine a larger group from within, usually in favour of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth columnist can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilise openly to assist an external attack. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathisers with an external force.”
Literarily, it refers to persons who willfully constitute clogs in the wheel of progress within the system for no justifiable cause. Simply put, self-centered persons who allow selfish interests to override public interests. It doesn’t matter heights attained, greed and acrimony will always manifest either patently or latently in their actions.
President Muhammadu Buhari must not allow some politicians constitute clogs in the wheel of his progress knowing that masses confidence on him is at stake. Election is over. This is the time to be strict and focused for service delivery to earn accolades after exit from politics in 2023. Those that preferred conceited interests and ambitions to public interest should be laid off. Second term in office by Nigeria’s Constitution precedes retirement. But the retirement; fulfilled, glorious or otherwise will be determined by some dynamics.
In the Oath of Allegiance in the 1999 Constitution, Federal Republic of Nigeria for public officeholders, it provides for recitation, “….I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully, and in accordance to with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…..; I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or official decisions ……; I will do right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will …….”.
These are the social contracts by which anyone; from president down to a commissioner can take up any official responsibility from the Constitution. Unfortunately, whilst the drafters of the Constitution took it seriously, politicians take it as mere recitals or formality. A pity, indeed!
The major challenge facing the country is insecurity which has perceptibly given President Buhari sleepless nights. Economy may never boom as targeted until insecurity is dealt with. The twosome (security and economy) go hand-in-hand. And any government that failed to prioritize them is cruising toward abysmal failures.
Unfortunately, scores of citizens that devotedly enrolled in a government institution – National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) – and graduated since 2013 have been subjected to redundancy and idleness; roaming the streets without vocations by designs of some privileged persons in government. What a contradiction?
How could scores of citizens be kept in such a tight corner for years with all manner of gimmicks, forgetting that the victims have a right to live a comfortable life? How many of the conspirators or schemers can stay without remunerations to justify the years the innocent victimised students have stayed without jobs? And finally, what have the schemers gained from the obnoxious ploys?
Pondering on the unending ugly dramas regarding the admission of NOUN law graduates who had been encumbered from proceeding for their vocational training in the Nigerian Law School for no crimes committed can only make any patriotic persons weep deeply for the nation. The commonest question that must come to mind is; can the country freely move forward with such actors as public officeholders?
The most horrible challenge any government can face is harboring fifth columnists who pursue selfish agenda distinct from the government they constitute. This is, indeed, unfortunate. Lack of continuity, unity of purpose and open-mindedness in government is the major task in governance. Any system where personal interests are placed above public interests will collapse.
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu’s efforts on the protracted NOUN/Law School crisis have often met a brick wall. Adversaries within, they say, are the worst enemies. And President Buhari must be mindful of such characters as they can sabotage other government policies mutely. Like corruption, if the government does not deal with fifth columnists within, they will deal with the government.
Anywhere a principal and subordinates pursue different interests is doomed to fail. No doubt, NOUN/Law School crisis was inherited from two previous administrations, but President Buhari must give these oppressed students the anticipated relief. According to Simone de Beauvoir, “All oppression creates a state of war”. And the time to avert it is now.
It is bizarre for a unique innovation which the federal government adopted from developing nations and established with public funds to be subjected to hostility and the pull-down syndrome instead of being strengthened to stand. How could human beings willfully and joyfully cripple their fellow citizens?
Anyway, a fulfilled and glorious retirement after serving the nation is only tenable by remarkable accomplishments and, therefore, any detractors within the system should be discharged in the best interest. Thus, let the needful be done.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst.

 

By: Carl Umegboro

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Opinion

As Another Femicide Lurks …

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November 25, 2019, may have come and gone, yet its echoes continue to resound in the global environment. At the United Nations (UN), the annual 16 Days campaign, which commences from the 25th day of November, through December 10, mobilizes not only the governments and public alike, it is also enthroning an atmosphere of hope and bright future, devoid of violence against women.
Although the theme of this year’s UN commemoration, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!” strictly highlights the need to end the “rape culture” that is entrenched in our society, we must not forget that its focal point is on outright elimination of gender-based violence (GBV) or violence against women and girls (VAWG),which has become a global pandemic . Whether in situations of conflict, peace, or in our homes, rape is a fraction of Violence against women which study has revealed, affects 1 in 3 women in their lifetime.
Like rape which started gradually and suddenly became a terror that has sniffed away sleep from the eyes of the mighty, as both adult and young females are daily exposed to its menace irrespective of their locations, femicide; the killing of women, is soon becoming another dimension of violence against women which the world government and the society at large need to nib in the bud before it becomes a bug.
While the world was yet urging actions to end violence against women, on November 25, Rivers State was agog with the news of the corpse of a young lady discovered in a well of water at Rumuosi in Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the State.
The young lady, simply identified as Miss Charity Ohaka, was allegedly murdered and her body thrown into a well by unknown persons.The body of the lady who until her death was said to be a popular money lender in the area was discovered in the well few days after she went missing.
This is in addition to an inexplicable killing of the Kogi People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s women leader; Salome Acheju Abuh, right in her house, and the brutal attack unleashed on the Social Democratic Party (SDP)’s gubernatorial flagbearer, Barrister Natasha Akpoti, in Lokoja, the state capital before the recent gubernatorial election held in the Confluence State.
Of course we cannot be said to have forgotten so soon, the serial killer story that has been on the news for the past few months. For reasons of killing women and girls in hotels in Nigeria, hotel owners in PortHarcourt are now under statutory obligation to install closed- circuit television (CCTV) in their respective hotels, to be able to track the activities of killers.
Jean-Luc Mounier, a French journalist and research engineer, quoting a non governmental organisation, Féminicides par compagnons ou ex, (Femicides committed by partners or exes) reports that as at September 7, a total of 102 women have been killed in France since the beginning of this year.
For this reason, more than 250 anti-femicide posters were posted in the streets of Paris since the end of August. A peculiar feature of this new trend of violence against women as is observed in France, is that it is mostly perpetrated by victims’ partners or spouses.The names of these women — and dozens of other victims — have been meticulously recorded on the cobblestoned wall of Jardin Denfert, a convent-turned-art collective in Paris’s 14th Arrondissement (district) on the French capital’s Left Bank.
Jean reports that since August 30, dozens of women gather there every afternoon in a bid to engage people with France’s femicide problem. Women who want to pay homage to the victims had launched the campaign to”make passers-by and public authorities react”.
Ofcourse, the action of these women has actually paid off. Rebecca Amsellem, a women’s rights activist, penultimate Monday, spoke to France 24 about measures the French government had announced to step up fight against the scourge of domestic abuse. Yet, the NGO reitetates that “Since the government announced its plans to tackle domestic violence on July 6 and the measures having been put in place on September 3, 26 women have been killed.
Despite worldwide mobilizations led by survivors and activists in recent years through movements, violence, especially the ones perpetrated against women continues to be normalized and embedded in our social environments. From the trivializing of rape, victim-blaming, the objectification of women’s bodies in movies or TV, the glamorization of violence in ads, or the constant use of misogynistic language, Violence against women and girls has attracted undue prominence across the globe.
France’s share of this world’s ugly cake differs from the experiences of other countries in this regard and so is the various governments’ attitude towards its arrest.
How about men that had poured hot water or acid on their spouses as sheer expression of misogyny. The ones that use hot pressing iron on patners or female house maids as punitive measure for minor offenses. The list is inexhaustive. Many of these acts go unnoticed and undocumented especially the ones that didn’t culminate to death and the victims were expected to raise alarm. Their lack of courage to speak out for fear of further victimization and public’s stigmatization have not helped matters.
It is not only devastating for survivors of violence and their families, but also entails significant social and economic costs. In some countries, violence against women is estimated to cost up to 3.7% of their GDP – more than double what most governments spend on education.
It knows no social or economic boundaries and affects women and girls of all socio-economic backgrounds. Thus, this issue needs to be addressed in both developing and developed countries. Failure to address this issue would entail a significant cost for the future.
Numerous studies have shown that children growing up with violence are more likely to become survivors themselves or perpetrators of violence in the future.
We may not all be activists, or share the same opinions on other issues, but we can be united in the battle against GBV. It’s an issue that touches all of us, it could happen to anyone; to you, or someone close to you. We all have a role to play. It is petinent that we all be part of the efforts to end all forms of violence against women. This femicide must stop.

 

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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Opinion

Rivers’ Brotherhood Revisited

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Excesses are the uncountable number of syndromes in any governmental sector which can render it to ruin. The White men say that “excess of everything is diabolical or bad”. This philosophical statement seems to be directed at Rivers indigenes and their governments from 1967 till date.
Congratulations to the maiden Governor of the state, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, a Bayelsan who set the pace for others to emulate through the policy of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation. Also, I thank the present Governor of the state, Chief Nyesom Wike, for his wisdom in applying the realistic political philosophy to move the state to its present level.
From here, I am appealing to all our leaders in Rivers State to combine the past history with the present and endeavour to create room for adjustments. Rivers State is the Treasure Base of the Nation, but the indigenes are hardly benefitting from the material and physical wealth of the state. It is manipulated by the non-indigenes due to no cooperation among Rivers people. Even though there are cultural differences among the indigenes, languages and tribal sentiments, such must be controlled as is done in other states of the federation.
Rivers State is used as a ‘scape goat’ and becomes victim of circumstance. When such is not practised by other neighbouring states, then why Rivers State only?
Truly speaking and as recounted, the different sectors of the Rivers economy are controlled by the non-indigenes. For instance, at the Civil Service Secretariat in Port Harcourt, some non indigenes claim to be Ikwerres whose language align with Igbo and continue to occupy paramount positions. Such is not happening in our neighbouring states. Evaluating the data of the working population, only 10% of the citizens are amongst the working class. As a writer, I went to the Schools Board of Imo State in Owerri, and was not granted the privilege to go in, being a Rivers indigene. Understanding them was not easy for me. They used their language power (Igbo) so that I would not understand them. In Rivers State, everything is accessible to strangers and they transact business anywhere without limitation. This has continued in the state for a long time.
Rivers indigenes are now treated as strangers and remain alienated from their natural resources. They are now like slaves in their land, looking beggarly and poverty-stricken. No leader wants to hear the hue and cry his people.
Does it mean that Rivers State should always consider others, while neighbouring states cannot consider Rivers people when it is their turn to recruit? If others fail to consider employing Rivers indigenes,why then should Rivers State do hers differently? The neigbouring states use language and cultural differences to wave off all others, and to abide strictly on recruiting their indigenes. Are Rivers leaders invoked to consider non-indigenes leaving out some of their equally qualified indigenes?
What is happening in Rivers State can be likened to the border impasse between Nigeria and her contiguous West African neighbours. For far too long, Nigeria has acted as a big brother to these neighbours at the expense of her economy. In return, she has benefitted very little (if anything).
Rivers State has always accommodated applications from indigenes of other states in Nigeria during job recruitments and contract awards. This is not to suggest that she lacks sufficient number of her own indigenes who are qualified and willing to undertake such duties. It is understandably in the spirit of brotherhood.
But what treatment do Rivers indigenes get elsewhere? Discrimination, intimidation, nepotism, exploitation and outright robbery. It is extremely difficult to identify any Rivers name in the payroll of any of her neighbouring states. To be sure, a few years ago when some South East States attempted to purge their civil services of non-indigenous workers, Rivers State was hardly affected because no Rivers man or woman got pay- rolled in the said states.
Now, there is news of the recruitment of another set of workers in the Rivers State University (RSU), Port Harcourt, leading to the setting up of RSU Employment Committee by the state governor. The mistake of the past should not repeat itself. Consideration must be given to the indigenes first before we can think of non-indigenes. Also, Rivers leaders in public and private positions of responsibility should begin to reconcile and relate well with each other. There should be no political antagonism amongst the ordinary citizens and the elites.
We must sink our social, political and cultural acrimonies for the purpose of establishing good goals and objectives to fulfill the dreams of the founding fathers of this esteemed state.
Only through this realization can we build a virile state ready to curtail the strangers who sabotage the economic development of our state. I was chanced to witness the off-shore work by a certain indigenous oil firm in early 2003. While there, I discovered that all the key positions were held by non-indigenes, while the mean ones were left for Rivers men. No Rivers indigene was granted full rights like enjoying the benefits of an ideal citizen.
A Rivers man is a stranger in his land, and the time has come to put an end to this unreasonable tolerance. The Rivers elites should have constant meetings at youth and elite levels of our rural and urban communities where proper resolutions can be taken on issues affecting the Rivers economy, pointing out reasonable suggestions and the way forward.
We cannot continue to feel that, due to our multi-cultural and language differences, there is no way out. Rome was not built in a day. A single tree cannot make a forest. Both the Rivers indigenes at home and abroad should have a sober reflection on issues affecting the state of our economy.
Anor is a Port Harcourt-based social analyst.

 

By: Christian Anor

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