As measure put in place to diversify Akwa Ibom State’s economy from crude oil and create other means of income generation, plans have been concluded to host the 2nd South- South Agric Expo summit in Uyo come November 2019.
The summit which is planned to hold in Ibom Hall grounds, Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital is intended to expose real farmers to opportunities that would enable them expand their investment in agriculture.
The 2nd South South Agric Expo, organised by the Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative (NAADI) in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Agriculture and other private partners is also intended to open doors for farmers and other agro-based dealers to exhibit their produce.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Expo in Uyo last Monday, the South-South Zonal Coordinator, Nigeria Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Development Initiative (NAADI), Mr Howard Usen, said a majority of Akwa Ibom people were unaware of the opportunities that abound in investing in agriculture.
Usen said many people in the state had not invested in agriculture because they were uninformed of the money making and tax free loan opportunities in the agricultural sector to key into.
He regretted that previous administrations in the state failed to utilise the opportunities offered by the Bank of Industry in the area of agriculture by refusing to contribute to the counterpart funds available in the sector.
The zonal coordinator further regretted that loan facilities for Agribusiness and Agro-Industry development in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the state was lying dormant as many people were ignorant of the existing facilities for that purpose.
He explained that the summit would expose the people to the opportunities available in agriculture and how to tap from them, among other things.
His words, “With all the wealth we have in the South- South, where are we, our people here do not understand the language of counterpart funding that is why we do not have Bank of Industry here.
“NAADI in Central Bank of Nigeria is a very strategic organisation, just give them a desk officer so that people can access information. It is information that prospers the people, not money. Bring money and distribute to the people, after one year they will be poorer, but when they are liberated mentally, their fortunes are changed forever.
“At the end of the summit, We hope to set a clear path for the development of agribusiness in Akwa Ibom State. We will change the mentality of the people about agriculture, so that people do not see agriculture the way they used to see it.
“There are people who are not farmers but are using herbs to make millions like farm crowding; they are not farmers but they have the intelligence. They set up a system for people to donate money; they do farms for people professionally.
“By the time we finish, you will see that there are a lot of potentials in some of the agric products we have. The palm oil we have does not go out of Nigeria because it contains metals. So if you are producing palm oil and you want to export it, you need a small refinery and that refinery is less than N5 million; that oil that comes out will be pure oil”.
INEC Hails Bayelsans Over Peaceful Guber Poll
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), yesterday, praised Bayelsa State citizens over the peaceful conduct of last Saturday’s elections.
INEC National Commissioner for Bayelsa, Rivers and Edo State Mrs May Agbamuche Ndoh, gave the commendation when she presented certificate of return to All Progressives Congress guber candidate(APC), David Lyon, and his deputy at Yenagoa on Thursday.
Also, certificate of return was presented to candidate of the APC for the Brass Constituency 1, Charles Daniel.
Mrs Agbamuche said , “ I am particularly delighted that the elections were peaceful and violent free and I want to keep this up in future elections”.
She also commended the security agencies for the effort they made to ensure the polls were peaceful and smooth.
Earlier, Resident Electoral Commissioner for Bayelsa , Pastor Monday Udoh, said the presentation of the certificates of return market the climax of the elections which preparation began sometime in May this year. He said, “ though there was serious apprehension over electoral violence, thuggery and malpractices, we are happy that for the first time nothing of such happened.
Shortly after receiving his certificate of return, Mr Lyon assured that his administration will not fail Bayelsans.
He said, “ we have signed a contract with Bayelsa and that contract is to develop Bayelsa State and bring peace so that investors will come.”
The incoming governor urged the people of the state to support in the quest to develop the state.
New CP Promises To Curb Criminality
The new Cross Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Nkereuwem A. Akpan, has assumed duty in the State.
He took over from Austin Agbonlahor, who was promoted to AIG. Akpan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
In an interactive session with journalists in his office in Calabar, the new commissioner said that one of his cardinal objectives was to curb the activities of criminals in the state.
He said he will encourage community policing. “I will encourage town hall meetings, wards to local government area meetings, area commands, traditional rulers, heads of communities, etc to support the police.
“These groups can trace the origin of crimes and criminal hideouts”, he said, and called on journalists and various groups to join hands with the police in the area of giving timely information that can help the police to curb criminal activities in the state.
Akpan regretted that because the value systems have been eroded so badly, the society no longer checks youth’s activities. He called on parents to educate and check the activities of their wards, particularly during this yuletide season so as to reduce all sorts of vices.
He advised criminals to keep off Cross River State because according to him, he will trace them to all nooks and crannies of the state.
By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
National Library Moves To Promote Reading Culture
The National Library of Nigeria, in partnership with Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State recently held an awareness programme aimed at promoting reading culture in Omoku, headquarters of the council. The programme with the theme, “ Reading, a Tool for Empowering the Vulnerable”, took place at Krisdera Hotel and attracted dignitaries from different walks of life.
A paper by Prof Blessing Ahiazu noted that lack of interest among Nigerians in reading was worst among the rural dwellers where there where no libraries and low access to reading materials.
According to the paper , ” from the young to adults, the quest for material wealth continues to dominate their attention rather than desire for knowledge, without realising that reading is a source of wealth creation “.
She stressed the need to make establishment of public libraries compulsory in schools and communities.
The National Librarian, Prof Lenrie Aina, said the problem of poor reading culture cuts across all social strata of Nigerian society and that semi-urban communities and custodial centres fell within the vulnerable category.
Aina stated that the aim of the programme was to sensitise the target groups to imbibe the culture of premises.
Chairman of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Council, Hon Victor Odili, expressed delight at the event and commended organisers for the opportunity given to the people of the area.
The Council boss, who was represented by the Council Secretary, Dr Innocent Osam, supported the programme by giving out the former Eco Bank premises which he said has been renovated and ready for use.
He particularly praised the dogged efforts of Prof Blessing Ahiazu in improving readership and urged all lovers of knowledge to support her.
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of variety of books to encourage readership in the locality.
By: Chris Oluoh
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