Akwa Ibom State Government yesterday said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with suppliers of fertilisers to make the commodity and other farm inputs easily accessible to its farmers.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mr Godwin Afangideh, made this known to newsmen in Uyo
He said the measure would also ensure that the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme was efficient in the state.
Afangideh said that the State Government promised to pay the suppliers 50 per cent of the goods supplied while they wait for the Federal Government to pay its own 50 per cent.
“In 2012 only 17, 000 bags of fertilisers out of 98, 000 required in Akwa Ibom were accessed and the amount of farm inputs received by farmers were below expectation.
“We have signed an MoU with suppliers of fertilisers and farm inputs to make sure that the entire need of farmers in terms of fertilisers and other farm imputes are met,” he said.
Afangideh blamed banks for the failure of 2012 supply of farm inputs in the state.
The commissioner said that “even after the agro-dealers fulfilled the terms of agreement to enable them to access funds, the banks failed to make funds available’’.
He described the GES programme as one of the policies that would enable farmer’s access fertilisers and other farm inputs easily.
Afangideh explained that the registration, creation of database on farmers and use of mobile phones would stop the farmers from being short-changed.
According to him, farmers who pay 50 per cent of the cost of fertilisers will get the product.
He added that the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of the fertilisers and gave farm inputs free of charge.
Afangideh, however, maintained that state governments were no longer involved in the acquisition and distribution of fertilisers.
“To ensure that there is increase in food production and increase the income of agro-dealers in the state, Akwa Ibom government distributed forms to farmers who need agric loans,” he further said
Bayelsa Deputy Gov Solicits Support For LGAs
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has thrown his weight behind calls for the sustenance and adequate support to local government councils in the country.
He also allayed the fear in some quarters that the present administration was planning to scrap the 32 Rural Development Areas (RDAs) in the state.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who spoke at a meeting with principal officers of the 32 RDAs at his office in Yenagoa, said government is taking steps to strengthen the local government system through some reforms.
He urged those clamouring for the scrapping of local councils as the third tier of government to properly diagnose the challenges affecting the functionality of local government areas.
Underscoring the importance of councils and RDAs as the nearest level of government to the people at the grassroots, the Deputy Governor called for concerted efforts to rejig the system for effective service delivery.
He expressed hope that ongoing reforms in the eight local government councils would also positively impact on the RDAs and improve the quality of life in rural communities.
Responding to the requests of the G32 leaders, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said that government would tackle their demands based on priority and availability of funds.
The Deputy Governor said, “The local governments were created to achieve a purpose, If they are not achieving the intended purpose, I am of the strong opinion that we must do a critical evaluation and see if the RDAs have been aided and motivated enough before we talk about scrapping them.
“Meanwhile, let me use this opportunity to assure you that this government appreciates the pivotal role councils and the RDAs are playing, so we have no intention whatsoever to scrap them.
“Our intention is to address the financial hemorrhage in the local government areas. Our idea is to try to rejig the system and give them all the support they need to achieve their responsibilities.”
“We must work together, both the 8 local government councils and the state. The benefits are enormous because if the local governments are working, you are making a direct impact to the communities and the people within the localities.
Earlier, Chairman of the G32, Mr Singer ThankGod, thanked the state government for the ongoing reforms in the local governments, and appealed for the completion of uncompleted secretariat projects n all the RDAs.
The group also pleaded for increment of allowances for principal officers, payment of promotion arrears and provision of office spaces for workers in the councils.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Accidents Claim 70 In Edo, Delta, Anambra
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says no fewer than 70 people died in road accidents in Edo, Delta and Anambra States in April and May.
The Commanding Officer of Zone 5 of FRSC, Mr Ayodele Kumapayi, disclosed this in an interview with The Tide source in Benin.
The zone comprises the three states.
Kumapayi said that the deaths were recorded from 41 fatal accidents out of a total of 131 accidents which occurred during the period.
He attributed the accidents to speeding and other forms of indiscipline by motorists.
Kumapayi noted that some motorists failed to install in their vehicles, Speed Limiting Device (SLD) introduced by the corps.
He said that from January to May, 1,910 motorists were arrested in the zone for failure to install the device in their vehicles.
According to him, 136 defaulters were arrested in January and 494 in February.
“Similarly, 471 defaulters were arrested in March, 363 in April and 446 in May,’’ Kumapayi said.
He advised motorists to install SLD, warning that the corps would not compromise on any policy that would ensure safety.
Police Parade Inspector, 24 Others For Alleged Gun Running
The Cross River State Police command has paraded one of its personnel, Inspector of police, Nathaniel Manasseh, for alleged gun running.
Also paraded was a 29-yr-old suspect, Mr. Akaniyene Inyang Umoh, for alleged arson and participating in the burning down of Ini Police headquarters in Akwa Ibom.
Umoh was arrested by the police detectives in Cross River after he fled from Ini.
Also paraded by the police are twenty three other suspected criminals picked by the police for various ranging from murder, illegal possession of firearms armed robbery, and cultism.
Speaking while parading the suspects at the state police headquarters Diamond Hill, Calabar, the Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Sikiru Akande, urged the residents of the state to assist the police with useful information that could aid in the arrest of criminals.
The CP said, “Cross River is regaining its lost glory in the area of security. As a matter of fact, we remain the most peaceful state in Nigeria and nothing can break out resolve.
“For our achievement, today is not unconnected with corporation enjoyed by well meaningful citizens, critical security stakeholders and corporate bodies that meet regularly to reevaluate our performance so far and the need for improvement that has led to what you are seeing today.
”I want to equivocally state clear that for the police to function effectively and efficiently in any developed society requires citizen’s participation, collaborative partnership and willingness of the community to constantly equip the police with useful information that can forestall unpleasant occurrence.”
Akande revealed that amongst those apprehended include an Inspector of Police, who usually gives out their riffles on “rent” to notorious criminals and is a member of a gun running syndicate.
He further said three persons were arrested for murder, nine for armed robbery, six for cultism, while three others were arrested for gun running, including the Inspector, as well as one for car snatching and another for arson.
Items recovered from them include, one unregistered Sports Utility Vehicle SUV from some criminals said to be one of the vehicles stolen around the Cross River Basin Authority during the #EndSARS protest.
But reacting to his arrest, the police inspector, Manasseh, admitted that he lost some rifles, claiming that he was charmed and spouses of two AK-47 and a vehicle.
He said: “I was assigned to convey two criminals from Obubra LGA of Cross River State to Owerri and unfortunately I was charmed by one of the criminals along the road and the criminals flee away with a vehicle and guns said to be property of the police.
”But I reported to the command and the police went after the criminals and got the criminals with the police guns recovered.”
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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