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Mechanised Agric, Key Sector For Nation’s Economy

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Mechanised Agriculture has been identified as one of the key sectors capable of sustaining the nation’s economy if properly harnessed.
Nigeria,s first Lady and wife of the president, Hajiya [Dr.] Turia Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, made the observation Monday during the official flagging – off and lunching of the 2009 cropping season for the Nigerian women in the southern part of the country held at Okpara Square, Enugu.
According to her, no economy can record meaningful feat without agriculture, hence the Yar’Adua led federal government places much emphasis on the sector, stressing the need for the country to always give mechanised farming serious attention it deserved.
She therefore, explained that the southern lunching exercise which was coming less than one week that of the Northern part of the country took place in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory was a genuine attempt designed to empower Nigerian women in agriculture, adding that provision of the farm implements being made available to the women at a subsidise rate would also go a long way in enhancing food security in the country.
The First Lady, however, called on all and sundry to always support women farmers especially those that are into mechanized farming, pointing out that agriculture, as being encapsulated in the federal government’s 7-point agenda would continue to receive adequate attention of the Federal Government.
Her words: “It is worth mentioning here that women are responsible in carrying out greater percentage of agricultural labour and about 60 per cent food processing activities, they still have access to less than 20 per cent agricultural inputs being distributed nation wide”, saying such situation remains a serious challenge and impediment on the side of the women towards contributing having food security in the nation.
“I salute your efforts, encouragement and determination for actively participating in the socio- economic growth of the nation”, she further stressed.
While welcoming the women to the ceremony which was attended by governor’s wives from the 17 southern states of the federation, Governor Sullivan Chime of Enugu State, commended the First Lady for her effort in encouraging Nigerian women to embrace farming, disclosing that his administration places much emphasis on agriculture.
He made it clear that agriculture was one of his administration’s 4-point agenda, assuring that the state government would continue to encourage and support every genuine agricultural programme in the state.
Earlier in her brief speech, wife of the host governor, Mrs. Clara Chime who led other South-East governors’ wives to the well- attended event noted that despite the fact that majority of the southern people are subsistence farmers, their efforts are not recognized by government , pointing out that, about 70 per cent of all agricultural activities are done by rural women The Enugu State First Lady, however, regretted that despite the tremendous role played by women in the agricultural sector, they have continued to face a scores of obstacles, especially in the southern states of the country, listing some of such barriers to include lack of access to better technology of production and processing machines, non allocation of marginal lands to women, among others, pointing out that better ones are reserved for men in the country.
The occasion was graced by several women farmers’ groups, including the Nigerian Council of Women Society, among other women associations in Nigeria.

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Farmer Cries Out Over Cattle Invasion

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A farmer in Aluu Community in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr Nwo Nna, has cried out over cattle invasion of his farmland and crops.
Nna made this known in a chat with newsmen in Aluu recently.
He said that the most worrisome aspect of the development was the neglect by the herders of the Anti-Grazing Law passed by the Rivers State House of Assembly.
The farmer who discribed such as vexatious and  provocative, appealed for intervention by relevant agencies in order to secure their future.
“I got to my  farm on Saturday morning only to see my vegetables, cassava, yam and the entire farm devastated by cows”, he said.
He  expressed regrets that his farm, which was not at the road  had experienced such  attack for the second time.
The farmer noted that it would have been a different ball game, if he had met the herders in his farm.
“The saving grace was that  I did not meet them. They should be called to order to avoid problems”, he said.
He also sought for urgent intervention of  the Rivers State Government, Myyetti Allah and other relevant authorities to warn the herders to keep off people’s farms in the interest of peace.
The farmer further explained that it was becoming a regular practice for herders to parade their cows along the roads, and such  cows  stray into farm lands and  destroy people’s means of livelihood.
While declaring that Rivers people are hospitable, the farmer warned stranger elements, who do not have respect for the laws of the land as well as terrorise other people’s means of livelihood, to take their lawlessness elsewhere.
Other farmers who also responded  called for the establishment of a system that monitors the  activities of herders.
According to them, it will enable those who take their cows into farms to be identified and adequately sanctioned in the event of any invasion by the cows.
This, they said will bring a lasting peace and as well  serve as a deterrent to others.

By: King Onunwor

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EFCC Blames Frauds In Banking Sector On Insiders

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission last Wednesday said most frauds in the banking sector were perpetrated by insider Information, Communication Technology employees.
Head, Cybercrime Section of the EFCC, Abbah Sambo, made the declaration at a national seminar on Banking and Allied Matters for judges in Abuja recently.
Sambo, who represented the EFCC Chairman, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa, at the seminar, said that most banking sector frauds handled by the commission showed that bank employees aided the acts.
He also expressed regrets at the increasing rate of cybercrime in spite of efforts by the commission to tackle it.
Sambo observed that in years past, young people involved in cybercrime were not ICT savvy, but today, it was  ICT graduates that are the champions in perpetrating the crime.
He attributed the increase in cybercrime to moral decadence and peer group influence.
“The rate at which young men are perpetrating cybercrime is seriously alarming.
“When we arrest these criminals, one major reason they give for going into the crime is peer influence.Their friends are into it and they want to run with guys that drive the best cars and have the best girls in town”, he said.
He hinted that most times when  the criminals were arrested, a lot of  assets on them,  are  registered in the names of their parents.
“Cars in the names of their mothers and houses in the names of their fathers. There is a fundamental issue relating to decay in moral coverage in the society,’’ he said.
Sambo said that the greatest challenge in fighting cybercrime was the knowledge gap, and  noted  that the criminals were getting more sophisticated.
According to him, the criminals had the ability to talk to one another seamlessly by sharing knowledge, unlike law enforcement agencies.
“A lot of the people trying to combat the crime in the field tend to lack the drive because they do not have adequate training,’’ he said.
He stressed the need for adequate sensitisation and engagement with youths, especially from secondary school level to let them know the ills of crime.
The two-day seminar was organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria in collaboration with the National Judicial Institution.

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SEC Frowns At Resurgence Of Ponzi Schemes

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has frowned upon the resurgence of Ponzi schemes and illegal fund managers in the country’s financial sector.
The Director-General of SEC, Mr Lamido Yuguda, made the observation of the development at an enlightenment workshop with the staff of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning on in Abuja over the week.
Yuguda said  that the unlawful schemes had continued to enjoy massive patronage of the populace and remained a source of concern for regulators in the financial sector.
According to him, the commission was  poised to continue to apply measures and seek the cooperation of relevant stakeholders toward combating the activities of these Ponzi schemes.
He expressed regrets that the upsurge of the schemes had undermined the reputation of the financial markets and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things.
“SEC firmly believes that the country’s capital market can attain its potential if market operators and participants contribute their respective quotas to the growth”, he said.
He also explained that SEC was committed to always ensure and maintain an environment that was enabled by the appropriate regulatory framework, timely and affordable access to market.
“The commission is also committed to zero tolerance for infractions, heightened investor confidence and awareness, innovative product development and good governance practice”, he said
“There is the need to restore investor confidence and improve the participation of retail investors in the market.
He further pointed out that the demography of investors in the country’s capital market showed that the young population do not participate in the capital market, and only a few Nigerians invested in the capital market.
The situation, he said,  created a huge challenge to the market growth and the commission  and added that it was striving to change the narratives by instilling a fair, transparent and orderly market.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, represented by Mr Stephen Okon, Director Home Finance, urged investors to take advantage of the various initiatives in the market.

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